Research Suggests that Low Fiber does Not Cause Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis is a condition of the colon in which pockets are form and swelling of the colon occurs. This disease is common for those who are 60 and above. The symptoms are very common bloating, mild cramps and constipation that those who have the disease will not even know its existence.  An estimated 1/3 of Americans that are over 60 years old have diverticulosis.

When the pouches swell or infected, it causes severe pain on the left side of the stomach along with fever, nausea, bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Vomiting can also happen. The outcome of the disease can be serious that hospitalization is often required.

There are no apparent causes for this disease.  Researchers were of the opinion that a low-fiber diet may be the major reason. But based on research made for 2,100 subjects, the study showed that the lowest percentage of fiber ingestion was 30%. The subjects were not susceptible to diverticulosis just like those who had higher intake of fiber. There was also no correlation between the disease and constipation, eating of fat and red meat or physically activity. Based on the study, the researchers from the North Carolina-Chapel Hill suspected gut flora to have a role in the development of the condition.

Another study from the Harvard University had the same result.  For a time, it was believed that frequent eating of nuts and popcorn put a person at risk to have the disease.  Researchers did not find any correlation at all in more than 47,000 participants. Only 800 were found to have diverticulosis. Those who ate nuts two times a week were 20% unlikely to have the disease and those who ate popcorn 28%. 

Both studies concluded that a high fiber diet would not reduce the risk. There is still a need to understand how specific food intake can affect certain illnesses. Those who have had bouts with diverticulitis should maintain a balance diet.  Fruits, vegetables and whole grain should be part of the healthy diet.