Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Fiber May Not Prevent Diverticular Disease

Study Questions Prevailing Wisdom About Fiber, Diverticulosis

Fiber, Constipation, Red Meat Off the Hook?

All the participants had colonoscopies to confirm or rule out the presence of diverticula, and all were interviewed regarding their diets, bowel habits, and activity level.

Among the surprising findings:

  • People with the lowest fiber intake were 30% less likely to develop diverticula than people whose diets included the most fiber.
  • Constipation was not associated with an increase in risk. In fact, people who had more than 15 bowel movements a week were 70% more likely to develop the pouches than those who had fewer than seven a week.
  • Neither lack of exercise nor eating a diet high in fat or red meat appeared to increase the risk for diverticula.

The study appears in the February issue of the journal Gastroenterology.

Expert: ‘Look Elsewhere for Cause’

Researcher Lisa L. Strate, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, called the study “important and provocative.”

Strate’s own research, published in 2008, also turned conventional wisdom about diverticular disease on its head, finding no merit to the prevailing wisdom that patients at risk for diverticulitis should avoid nuts, corn, and popcorn.

“We have been stuck on the idea that fiber is a major player in diverticular disease for too long without really being able to back it up,” she says. “This study tells us that we need to look at other potential risk factors.”

Digestive disease specialist David Bernstein, MD, agrees. Bernstein is chief of the division of gastroenterology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

“This is a very important paper that questions what has been our dogma,” he says. “We now have scientific evidence that does not back up what we have been telling people.”

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
top foods for probiotics
couple eating at cafe
sick child
Woman blowing bubble gum

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Woman with stomach pain
diet for diverticulitis
what causes diarrhea