“You are what you eat”, could our diet affect the likelihood of getting Cancer?
Updated: Feb 7
Did you know?
The CDC named Cancer as one the main causes of death amongst black people (despite recent declines in death rates). Black Americans have the lowest survival rates for Cancer (link).
A study conducted at the University of Pittsburg (link) took 20 African people and 20 African-American’s and switched their diets for 2 weeks. This meant moving the African’s onto a more African-American diet, richer in animal protein and fat, and less soluble fibre. Whilst the African- Americans’ moved onto a traditional African high-fibre, low-fat diet.
The result of the experiment was that each group swapped their risk for Colon Cancer in just 2 weeks, with the African-Americans seeing an increase in Butyrate production, which is known for its key role in the anti-cancer pathway.
What’s the conclusion?
Whilst the experiment could not definitively say that changing the diets of the test groups would have led to more Cancer in one group or less Cancer in the other group, studies did show that increasing the amount of Fibre in the African-Americans diet from ~10g to more than 50g, likely led to biomarker changes, reducing the risk of Cancer (but eating less animal fat and proteins also could be helpful).
Key take aways:
A key take away for me is that we do have some control in increasing our decreasing our risk of Cancer. We all know that smoking is bad for us, but should we also think of certain food groups in the same light? If this is one of the main killers amongst our society, I can pledge now to eat more high Fibre and less soluble Fibre. For more information on ways to up your Fibre intake follow this see my article on Fibre.