Fiber May Not Protect Against Colorectal Cancer

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Fiber protects against colon cancer

(HealthDay News) — Here’s the latest word on whether a diet rich in fiber helps prevent cancer of the colon and rectum: Probably not.

While several studies have found a lower risk of colorectal cancer for people who have a high intake of dietary fiber, a new study that combined the results of 13 studies including more than 725,000 people found no overall protective effect when all risk factors were taken into account.

A first look at the data did find a 16 percent lower incidence of the cancer in the 20 percent of people with the highest fiber intake. But then the researchers began compensating for other risk factors — such as multivitamin use, folate intake, red meat consumption, milk and alcohol intake.

As a result, “we did not find support for a linear inverse relationship between dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer,” the researchers wrote.