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Roughage not so good for bowels

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by 2up, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Roughage 'not so good for bowels'
    Saturday, August 29, 2009 » 08:47am

    Grandma was wrong: wheat bran and other fibrous foods that do not dissolve easily in water may irritate your bowels, a study suggests.

    While soluble types of bran, such as psyllium, appear to ease inflamed bowels, the insoluble varieties that have long been a staple for people in search of regularity don't work as advertised, the study found.

    Bran is the hard outer layer of grains. Psyllium, also referred to as isphagula, is derived from the seed husks of the Plantago ovata plant, and is the chief ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives.

    The signature symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects about 10 per cent of the population, are abdominal pain and an irregular bowel habit.

    In many countries, doctors recommend daily doses of fibre in the form of insoluble bran, but there have been very few rigorous studies to see whether boosting intake of this type of fibre actually works.

    A team of researchers from the Netherlands led by Rene Bijkerk of the University Medical Centre set up clinical trials to find out.

    They divided 275 patients into three groups, and gave each a different 12-week treatment regimen.

    One group ate 10 grams of bran twice a day, and a second ate the same quantities of psyllium, which forms a gel-like substance when mixed with water.

    A third group ate a neutral placebo made out of rice flour, which contains no fibre at all.

    All but six per cent of the participants were Caucasian, and more than three-quarters were women, who suffer from IBS more than men.

    The patients had either been diagnosed as having the syndrome within the past two years, or fulfilled other criteria for chronic bowel-related problems.

    A standardised scale measuring the severity of symptoms showed that psyllium was the most effective treatment, even after only one month.

    After three months, the severity was reduced by 90 points in the psyllium group, 49 points in the placebo group, and 58 points in the bran group.

    The slight difference between the bran and the rice gruel placebo was judged statistically insignificant.

    'Bran showed no clinically relevant benefits, and many patients seemed not to tolerate bran,' the researchers reported in the British Medical Journal on Friday.

    'Indeed, bran may worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and should be advised only with caution.'

    Previous studies have linked soluble fibres to healthy blood cholesterol levels and a better regulation of blood sugar levels.

    Food sources that contain soluble fibre include psyllium, barley, oatmeal, lentils, fruit and vegetables.
  2. And in the same vein
    Rectal exams vital for bowel cancer

    Amanda Cameron

    An Australian colorectal cancer specialist has reminded New Zealand doctors of the importance of rectal exams for distinguishing between piles and bowel cancer.

    “I can’t stress enough the importance of a rectal exam because a low cancer feels nothing like haemorrhoids,†Andrew Luck told delegates at the Cancer Society’s annual professional education seminar.

    Dr Luck, who is a colorectal surgeon at Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide, made the remark after a delegate commented on the number of colorectal cancers misdiagnosed as haemorrhoids.

    Per rectal bleeding is the most common symptom of colorectal cancer that GPs see and needs to be investigated even if a patient has haemorrhoids, Wellington GP Chris Kalderimis told delegates.

    However, because of the age-dependent incidence of colorectal cancer, Dr Luck advised against automatically investigating for the disease in patients with both per rectal bleeding and haemorrhoids unless they are aged over 40.

    Patients aged 40 or under should only be investigated for colorectal cancer if rectal bleeding persists despite treatment of their haemorrhoids with ligation or injection sclerotherapy, Dr Luck said.

    Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand, but on an age-stratified basis its incidence comes second to prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

    Family history is enormously important in determining risk and whether a person should start getting regular faecal occult blood tests, but it can take a while for patients to get hold of the information, Dr Kalderimis says.

    Likewise, a change in a person’s bowel habit is a very important symptom but the information is not always forthcoming as people don’t like talking about it, he says.

    Meanwhile, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss and unexplained iron deficient anaemia are common symptoms of colorectal cancer.

    Maori are less likely to be diagnosed and 33 per cent more likely to die from the disease, Tony Blakely, director of the Health Inequalities Research Programme at the University of Otago, Wellington, told delegates.

    Their worse survival is only partly explained by more advanced cancer at diagnosis and has more to do with the presence of comorbidities and the treatment facilities available in more deprived areas, Professor Blakely says.

    He explained obesity has been found to contribute up to 17 per cent of colon cancer among men and 6 per cent of colon cancer among women, and the contribution of obesity is even greater among Maori and Pacific Islanders.

    “So, if you could get people to slim down it would make a big difference,†Professor Blakely says.

    Physical activity reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, according to a 2007 report from the World Cancer Research Fund and the Institute for Cancer Research.

    Factors that have been convincingly demonstrated to increase that risk include eating red meat and processed meat, having more body fat, more abdominal fat, and being taller, Professor Blakely says.

    Alcohol use also increases the risk of colorectal cancer but the evidence for this link is more convincing among men than women.

    The Cancer Society seminar, called “Beating bowel cancer – the bottom lineâ€, was held in Wellington in June and was attended by 150 people including 13 GPs and 12 practice nurses.
  3. Beating bowel cancer – the bottom line

    doctors have a sense of humour???

    whodathunkit??? :LOL:
  4. Is there anything that doesn't give you cancer or some other disease these days?
  5. I read somewhere recently that whilst vegetarians have lower overall rates of cancer than meat eaters, they actually have higher rates of bowel cancer compared to meat eaters. Dunno how true this is or what it's based on but interesting nonetheless.
  6. I like the sign I saw on the back of a Butcher's truck the other day;

    If God hadn't intended us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat??
  7. Life gives you cancer.
  8. Have you heard of the Tofudebeast?


    Caption: In sudden disgust, the three lionesses realized they had killed a tofudebeest--one of the Serengeti's obnoxious health antelopes.
  9. :rofl: Sounds like Gary Larsen!!!
  10. I think vegetarians having a lower rate of cancer is a myth too.

    I just roll my eyes now every time a new food study comes out now.

    Oh, and oxygen is dangerous. We need to reduce this harmful chemical in our body.
  11. any food which goes through a change of state can apparently increase the chances of you getting cancer. Theres a shed load of science myth or fact that goes into the above statement, but needless to say the chance must be very slim or we would of died out after our ancestors decided to cook anything.
  12. The whole "roughage" thing may be just a red herring. You can eat plenty of dietary fibre in vegetables and fruit.

    Early humans wouldnt have been eating grains.
  13. overall, vegetarians are more likely to be interested in diet and exercise and are less likely to be fat so of course they are less likely to be affected by things commonly caused by bad diets (heart attacks etc)
  14. Thats the problem with these kinds of studies. Correlation does not equal causation, yet articles written about these studies always jump to causation and myths are born. Same with saturated fats, cholesterol etc etc

    Just eat your veggies kids, youll be much happier.
  15. I go with the "all things in moderation" philosophy myself.

    And I did my own scientific study last night and can now confirm that "beanz meanz fartz" :p :p
  16. ..everything works it's way out in the end!!..... :p
  17. And if it doesn't, remember the lessons from school - if it's too hard, you can always use a pencil to work it out.