Diet swap shows damage done by junk food
Research involving a "diet swap" between people living in two different cultures provides more evidence of the toll Western junk food can have on the body.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted a two-week diet swap between 20 African-American volunteers and 20 volunteers from rural Africa. The American participants were asked to eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet consisting largely of grains and beans, while the African participants were asked to eat a high-fat, high-sugar and low-fiber diet consisting of burgers and fries.
The results revealed that in just 14 days, the Americans benefitted from less bowel inflammation while the gut health of the African volunteers deteriorated. Medical tests performed on the participants before and after the diet swap revealed significant changes to cells lining the gut as well as gut bacteria – with the U. S volunteers showing improvement, according to the study published in Nature Communications. Specifically, the Americans in the study showed fewer biomarkers of colon cancer after they switched diets.
Firm conclusions can’t be made from such a small study, but previous research suggests a high intake of fiber, particularly cereals and whole grains, reduces the risk of colon cancer, while eating red and processed meat increases the risk.
Scientist have estimated that nearly a third of bowel cancer cases can be prevented through dietary changes.