Study: Two weeks of “American” diet affects biomarkers associated with colon cancer risk

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that in a study “published … in Nature Communications, African Americans who were fed a two-week diet of South African foods high in fiber and low in animal proteins and fats experienced declines in risk factors for colon cancer.” Meanwhile, “Africans who had a two-week American diet full of meat and saturated fat showed changes in gut bacteria and molecules that indicated an elevated risk of colon cancer.”

On its website, CBS News reports that investigators “found that only two weeks of diet exchange was enough change the makeup of the intestinal microbiota and affect a number of biomarkers associated with colon cancer risk.”

The researchers found that “the rate of cell turnover in the intestinal lining, levels of fiber fermentation, bacterial metabolic activity, and inflammation all reflected the change in eating patterns.”

Forbes contributor Alice G. Walton writes that “the authors argue that the high-fiber element of the African diet is likely what’s behind the shift, at least in large part.”

Walton also writes, “The results also call out a larger issue: That the increasing Westernization of dietary habits across the world is probably not a good thing.”

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