Many questions remain about the impact of diet on conditions such as cancer and the potential value of dietary change in treating a wide variety of health conditions. In a blog post on Healio, gastroenterologist Dr. Andrea Shin of the Indiana University School of Medicine discusses two studies presented at Digestive Disease Week® 2022 that shed light on these connections.
One study, led by Dr. Mingyang Song of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzed records of more than 144,000 patients who had at least one colon screening and were followed for 18 to 20 years until diagnosed with colon polyps. Patients were surveyed every four years about their diets. Those who ate the largest amount of ultra-processed foods had a greater risk of polyps, and processed meats had the strongest association with higher-risk polyps – suggesting that this may be a modifiable dietary target to prevent colorectal cancer.
Another study, conducted by Dr. Sanna Nybacka at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, compared two diets and medical treatment for IBS. Nearly 300 IBS patients were split into three groups: one received IBS medication; another was assigned a low-carbohydrate diet; and the third was assigned a diet low in sugars that may cause gastrointestinal distress (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols – FODMAP). After four weeks, symptoms improved for all groups, but the two dietary groups had greater improvement – more than 70 percent saw significant symptom reduction. The results suggest dietary changes may be considered as a first line of IBS treatment.
Dr. Song presented data from the study “Association between ultra-processed food consumption and risk of colorectal cancer precursors in three cohorts,” abstract 116, at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2022.
Dr. Nybacka presented data from the study “Both a low-carbohydrate diet and a combined low-fodmap/traditional IBS diet are superior to optimized medical treatment in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A randomized controlled trial,” abstract 684, at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2022.