Home Science Health Resistant starch helps prevent bowel cancer

An Australian research paper published in April 2012 concludes that the consumption of resistant starch could help to protect damage to the bowel, which may lead to bowel cancer. Unfortunately, most people in Australia, the United States, and other parts of the world, do not get enough resistant starch in their diets.

Dr. David Topping, the chief research scientist with CSIRO, is one of the authors of the study. He is with the CSIRO's Food Futures Flagship and the CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences (located in Adelaide, South Australia).

Topping states (in the below CSIRO article), 'We have been trying to find out why Australians aren't showing a reduction in bowel cancer rates and we think the answer is that we don't eat enough resistant starch, which is one of the major components of dietary fibre.'

According to the 4/26/12 CSIRO article Latest findings: resistant starch may offer potential to help protect against bowel cancer, 'Western diets are typically low in fibre and have been linked with a higher incidence of bowel cancer.'

And, 'Even though Australians eat more dietary fibre than many other western countries, bowel cancer is still the second most commonly reported cancer in Australia with 30 new cases diagnosed every day.'

Dr. Topping calls this the 'Australian Paradox.'

The findings of Topping and his associates state that dietary fibre is good for humans, but fibre-rich resistant starch is even better.

The paper by Topping and his CSIRO colleagues is found in The Journal of Nutrition. It is titled 'Resistant Starches Protect against Colonic DNA Damage and Alter Microbiota and Gene Expression in Rats Fed a Western Diet'.

Dr. Topping goes on to say, 'It's not just the amount of fibre that we eat that's important, but the diversity of fibre in our diet. We studied various sources of resistant starch, including corn and wheat, and the results suggest they could all protect against DNA damage in the colon, which is what can cause cancer.'

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University