Janet Marshall is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Living section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter. She thinks most things are fine in moderation.
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Surprising news about diverticulosis
For years, doctors have preached that a diet high in fiber can protect against diverticulosis, an intestinal disease in which pouches develop in the colon wall. If those pouches become infected or inflamed, a person is said to have diverticulitis, a more serious condition that can cause extreme pain, bleeding, abscesses and, in the worst cases, perforations in the colon.
The thinking has been that a high-fiber diet, which spurs the body to have regular bowel movements, protects against the development of diverticulosis. But a new study of more than 2,000 patients, by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, suggests that a low-fiber diet may be more protective instead.
The study “found that consuming a diet high in fiber raised, rather than lowered, the risk of developing diverticulosis. The findings also counter the commonly-held belief that constipation increases a person’s risk of the disease,” a press release from UNC Health Care said.
The lead researcher, Dr. Anne Peery, was quoted as saying ”it looks like we may have been wrong, for decades” about why diverticulosis develops. But she cautioned that it’s too soon to provide patients with new, clear dietary advice.
To read more about the study, visit http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2012/january/diets-high-in-fiber-wont-protect-against-diverticulosis
To learn more about diverticulosis, visit mayoclinic.com.
If you’re a patient, consult your doctor for more specific advice.