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Study: Popcorn Doesn't Increase Risk of Diverticulitis

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 6:14 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Diverticulosis, Diverticulitis, Digestive Disorder, Colon, Diverticular Complications, Popcorn

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IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons / popcorn / Fir00002


People who suffer from a common digestive disorder known as diverticulosis are typically advised to refrain from consuming foods such as nuts, popcorn, certain seeds and corn on the cob to avoid the onset of painful attacks.

But according to a new study, these foods do not appear to increase the risk of diverticulosis or diverticular complications. In fact, these very foods may even offer some protection against the common complications associated with these disorders, researchers said.

Diverticulitis is the swelling (inflammation) of an abnormal pouch (diverticulum) located in the intestinal wall. These pouches are commonly found in the colon (large intestine). The presence of the pouches themselves is referred to as diverticulosis.

The study involved 47,000 male participants between the ages of 40 and 75 with no current history of diverticulosis, diverticulitis or related diverticular complications.

“We found no scientific evidence to support current recommendations, that consuming these foods increased the risk of diverticulitis and did not appear to increase the risk of developing diverticulosis or complications related to the disorder,” said study author, Dr. Lisa Strate, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington, School of Medicine, in Seattle.

Men who consumed popcorn, corn or various seeds an average of twice per week, were no more likely to develop diverticulitis then those men who ate the same foods about once a month or less, according to researchers.

Nearly 10 percent of the American population is prone to diverticulosis, by the time they are 60 and two-thirds will have the disorder by age 85.

Many people do not experience symptoms of the disorder, however, nearly one fourth of them are at risk of developing diverticulitis, a potentially serious condition accompanied by intense pain in the lower side of the abdomen followed by cramping, bleeding and nauseas, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“It is important to note that the study findings may not apply to each person that suffers from diverticulosis. There are probably going to be a subset of people who adhere to a more restrictive diet that helps to benefit them and their symptoms to improve,” said Dr. Anthony Starpoli, an attending gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. #


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