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I’m currently in the midst of studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Holistic Health.  If you read that post, you will recall that I would probably have issues with some of the things that come up in the course of my studies and I would present my arguments here. Well guess what?  This is the first.

I recently completed a section of my studies that had to do with Toxicity and Detoxification.  In it, there was an emphasis on a healthy colon, as well as a clean colon.  Well, I’m all for a healthy colon, but I’m not so sure about how clean I want my colon to be.  I definitely don’t want my colon to be impacted with undigested foods, that wouldn’t be healthy.  But I want my colon to be populated with the good bacteria, which helps me to stay healthy. (More on that in a later post). So the idea of colonics or other “cleansing” protocols, don’t really appeal to me since they not only clean out the colon, but kill off all that good bacteria which could allow bad bacteria to proliferate. So I’m already skeptical.

And skeptical is a good way to be, it encourages me to do more research. I am not a person that simply accepts “what everyone knows”.  For those that know me well, that is a part of who I am.  I question everything.  Not necessarily in the moment, but I research and draw my own conclusions,  which is why when the lessons made an emphasis on whole grains and dietary fiber and on exactly how my stools should look, I went digging.

For many years, popular knowledge has been that dietary fiber is crucial for us. It helps the stools slide through the colon, leaving much less material to adhere to the colon wall.  How many of us started eating bran muffins during the 80’s because of what we heard?

Colon cancer  is one of the leading causes of cancer death in both the United States and other developed countries and tends to begin as a benign polyps in the colon lining and rectum. These polyps slowly develop into cancerous cells.  According to description of colon cancer on PubMed Health, a portion of the United States National Library of Medicine run by the National Institutes of Health, “What you eat may play a role in your risk of colon cancer. Colon cancer may be associated with a high-fat, low-fiber diet and red meat. However, some studies have found that the risk does not drop if you switch to a high-fiber diet, so this link is not yet clear.”  So the link between digesting high amounts of dietary fiber and colon cancer is not a given.

The study in question comes from the Nurses Health Study, a study beginning in 1976 and expanded in 1986 of more than 100,000 nurses.  This study is highly regarded and cannot be dismissed, but the findings fly in the face of other previous studies.  It does not find a strong association between the intake of fiber and colon cancer.  There is evidence that people who consume more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing colon cancer then those who don’t. However, the consumption of high cereal fiber (ie, those bran muffins) don’t appear to lower the risk of colon cancer.

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