20 Americans Swapped Diets With 20 Africans For Cancer Study, See The Results

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In one of the first studies of its kind, two groups of volunteers from different parts of the world underwent a ‘diet swap’.

20 Americans swapped burgers for black-eyed peas when they switched diets with 20 South Africans living in rural Kwazulu, who took on the Americans’ eating habits. The study at Imperial College London sought to find out if the high-fibre diet of those living in southern Africa could have an effect on the risk of developing bowel cancer.

What They Ate

The South African diet consisted of corn fritters, spinach and red pepper for breakfast; corn dogs, fried potatoes and mango for lunch; and okra, tomatoes, corn muffins and black-eyed peas for dinner. The American diet included beef sausage and pancakes for breakfast; burger and chips for lunch; and meatloaf and rice for dinner. The change was dramatic. Within two weeks, the Americans’ risk had been slashed, while the South Africans began to show signs of a risk.

20 Americans Swap Diets With 20 Africans For Cancer Study

“What is really surprising is how quickly and dramatically the risk markers can switch in both groups following diet change. These findings also raise concerns that the progressive westernisation of African communities may lead to the emergence of colon [large bowel] cancer as a major health issue. The findings suggest that people can substantially lower their risk of colon cancer by eating more fibre. ” Professor Jeremy Nicholson, who conducted the research said.

Bowel cancer, which kills 600,000 people worldwide every year, is thought of as a Western disease because it’s high in red and processed meat and low in fibre. The study, which is published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that a change in diet can positively alter the balance of bacteria found in the gut.

20 Americans Swap Diets With 20 Africans For Cancer Study

The African group consumed two to three times less animal protein and fat and more carbohydrate and fibre than the Americans at the start of the study, which led to higher levels of butyrate. Butyrate is thought to have anti-cancer properties.

Source: Naij