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Nuts, Popcorn Do Not Increase Diverticulosis Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture
Popcorn and diverticulosis

It has been long recommended that people suffering from diverticulosis should not have popcorn, nuts, seeds and corn in their diet, but this new study says that these food is not actually risky.

Diverticular disease affects 1 in 3 US adults at their ages of 60. The disease occurs when certain pouches (diverticulas) form in colon and make it easy for bacteria to develop and stay in pouches. And when these pouches inflame, there may occur bleeding, infection, digestive system problems. Scientists now think that it is mainly low-fiber diet causing the disease and they suggest that food like popcorn, nuts, seeds and corn is much easy to lodge in pouches and cause diverticular problems.

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A team of researchers from University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle analyzed the data of 47,000 people, aged from 40 to 75, participating in Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which was conducted during the period between 1986 and 2004. None of participants had diverticulosis when the study just started. Researchers were regularly checking participants for the disease and eating habits.

During the study, 18 years later, there were 801 participants, who experienced diverticulitis, and 383, who experienced diverticular bleeding. Researchers than looked at how often those with the disease consumed popcorn, nuts, seeds and corn and found that those with the highest nuts intake were 20% less likely to suffer diverticulosis, and those with the highest popcorn intake were 28% less likely to suffer diverticulosis.

The study was large enough to say that the current recommendations should be dropped. Also, the study involved men only, but study authors are sure that the results can be applied to women as well. However, study authors urge that those suffering from diverticulosis should not start eating popcorn, nuts, seeds and corn immediately. There may be individuals, who will need special recommendations and they should consult a doctor before changing dieting habits.

"If you are a patient with known diverticular disease, and you have had the experience of eating seeds, nuts and popcorn and developed diverticular pain as assessed by your doctor, you should probably not have those foods," said Dr. Anthony Starpoli, an attending gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.



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