There’s a small study that suggests the type of diet you choose to help you lose weight, a worthy goal to be sure, might also have an impact on colon health. The research included 17 men classified as obese who the team discovered had colon changes that may, given time, contribute to dangerous colon cancer. We do know that diet plays a role in this disease; eating high fat, low fiber foods and diets high in protein are often blamed for increasing your risk.
When it comes to losing weight and eating healthy, cancer risk is probably the farthest thing from your mind. This research gives you something to think about when it comes to choosing the right eating plan for dropping those extra pounds.
It’s important to understand that this research examined only short time shifts in some compounds that are produced during metabolism. This isn’t the same thing as disease risk. The research doesn’t show conclusively that high protein/low carbohydrate diets increase the risk of diseases of the colon, but it’s certainly possible.
To be considered a high protein/low carb diet, you should be getting from 30% to 50% of your daily calories from protein. This is thought to put the body into a different metabolic state (ketosis) where you burn your own fat for fuel. Your body makes a switch from a carbohydrate-burning engine to a fat burning one. Some of the risks that come with this type of diet include kidney failure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and more.
The researchers are worried that the risks of colon cancer could be raised if you stick with these high protein eating plans over the long term.
The subjects in this study each followed three different short-term diets. One week was designed to keep their weight the same, then they followed a high protein diet for four weeks with moderate (181 grams/day) levels of carbs and a high protein diet that was low (22 grams/day) in carbs.
When each diet stage was completed the team analyzed stool samples to assess levels of specific metabolic byproducts. When the subjects were following diets high in protein they showed higher levels of N-nitroso compounds, and other metabolites linked to cancer in their stool. When they were eating the high protein/low carbohydrate diet there were lower amounts of compounds derived from fiber that experts think might provide protective properties against cancer.
Before you choose a diet to help you lose weight, talk with your doctor as he/she can help you find a plan that will help you take in less, stay satisfied and still lose weight.
Diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates have been successful when it comes to losing weight, and obesity does carry risks for colon cancer all on its own. If you need to lose weight, worries over the diet and colon cancer should not stop you. What you’ll need to do is make sure that whatever eating plan you choose includes enough fiber. The research team suggest you get around 28 g of fiber each day.
Being aware of the risks is certainly important for all of us when it comes to colon health. The American Cancer Society tells us that this form of cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the U.S. It’s so important to pay attention to recommendations for screening tests and have them when you should. An early diagnosis gives you the best chance for a complete cure.