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Reduced Risk of Colorectal Cancer with Higher Intake of Whole-Grains

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer.  Latest study indicates that increased fibre intake is associated with reduced risk for colorectal cancer.

Epidemiological evidence have demonstrated several health benefits associated with increasing fibre intake and replacing refined grains with whole grains, such as reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity.  A recent systematic review investigated the association between dietary fibre and whole grain intake and incidence of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer accounts for about 10% of all cases of cancer.  Evidence suggest that dietary factors are of major importance in the cause of colorectal cancer, particularly intakes of red and processed meat and alcohol are considered to be convincing dietary risk factors for colorectal cancer.  Whole grains are a major source of dietary fibre and contain nutrients that are removed during the refining process.  Whole grains are a major source of several vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which could plausibly influence the risk of colorectal cancer.

Statistical analysis of 25 prospective studies showed that there is a 10% reduction in risk of colorectal cancer for each 10 g/day intake of total dietary fibre and cereal fibre; and a 20% reduction for each three servings (90 g/day) of whole grain daily.

In summary, a high intake of dietary fibre, in particular cereal fibre and whole grains, was associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.  Further studies are warranted to investigate in more details, including those for subtypes of fibre and other risk factors that may have public health implication in relation to risk reduction for colorectal cancer.

Dagfinn Aune et al; BMJ 2011;343:d6617


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