Researchers have found that swapping out a westernized diet for meals traditionally found in rural Africa may reduce the risk of colon cancer. A trial involving African Americans who replaced “fatty, meat-heavy diets with rural African foods rich in beans and vegetables found that in just two weeks, biological markers pointed to a drop in their disease risk.” Changes in gut microbes were a key indicator used.

Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in the west. Globally, about a million people are diagnosed each year. African Americans have a 100-fold risk of developing colon cancer when compared with rural Africans.

Ian Sample (@iansample) writes for The Guardian:


“What is startling to me is how profoundly the microbes, metabolism and cancer risk factors change in just two weeks of diet change. It means to me that diet and environment and microbial genes are likely to be much more important than individual human genes in determining individual colonic cancer risks,” he [Jeremy Nicholson] said.

“Certainly it shows that your possible fate is not just determined by the genetic dice at birth. How you roll the dice in the game is probably more important,” he added.

While the sample size was small, the results are promising.


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