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Fiber May Not Prevent Diverticular Disease

Study Questions Prevailing Wisdom About Fiber, Diverticulosis

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.”

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