Three recent studies show that fiber may not prevent colon cancer in North Americans. Some recent studies (1) show that resistant starches may be the factor that prevents colon cancer in Blacks in South Africa and could also prevent colon cancer in Caucasians.

Blacks in South Africa have a very low incidence of colon cancer, while Caucasians in North America have a very high incidence. South African blacks eat a diet rich in dried maize porridge. Maize is corn. The porridge has an extremely high content of resistant starch, while fresh corn has low levels. Resistant starches cannot be digested in the intestines, so they cannot be absorbed and pass to the colon where bacteria there can break them down into short chain fatty acids that have been shown in many studies to help prevent cancers, particularly colon cancer.

Resistant starches are found in whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts, and the content increases with aging. Resistant starches also cause the most intestinal gas.

1. R Ahmed, I Segal, H Hassan. Fermentation of dietary starch in humans. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2000, Vol 95, Iss 4, pp 1017-1020.Address Ahmed R, Baragwanath Hosp, Div Gastroenterol, PO Bertsham, ZA-2013 Soweto, SOUTH AFRICA.

Checked 5/3/07

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