Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly occurring cancer in men and the second most
commonly occurring cancer in women. While we may already know that altering our diet can make a positive effect, how soon can we reverse the effects of a faulty diet?
Let’s listen to what Dr. Michael Greger has to say
>>Dr. Michael Greger: The problem is that we are eating these meat-sweet diets, characterized by a high intake of animal products and sugars processed foods and a low intake of whole plant foods. Contrary to the fermentation of the carbohydrates that make it down to your colon, the vibrant resistant stores that benefit us through the generation of those magical short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, microbial protein ferments when excess protein is consumed, and that generates potentially toxic and pro-carcinogenic metabolites involved in colorectal cancer. And so what we eat can cause an imbalance in our gut microbiome and potentially create a recipe for colorectal cancer, where a high-fat
high-meat, high processed food diet tips the scale towards dysbiosis in colorectal cancer. Where there is a high fiber and starch, a lower meat diet can pull you back into symbiosis with your friendly flora and away from cancer. We now have evidence from interventional studies suggesting that adopting a plant-based minimally processed high-fiber diet may rapidly reverse the effects of meat-based diets on the gut microbiome. So
this might be a new form of personalized microbiome medicine for chronic disease; it’s called food, which can rapidly reproducibly alter the human gut microbiome. Switch people between a whole food plant-based diet and more of an animal food-based diet and you can see dramatic shifts within two days which can result in toxic metabolites. Switch people to an animal food-based diet and levels of deoxycholic acid go up which is a secondary bile acid known to promote DNA damage, liver cancers, while due levels go up because the bad bacteria producing the stuff triple in just 2 days and over time the richness of the microbial diversity in our gut is disappearing.
Hey here’s our bacterial tree of life. That’s getting depleted. Why is this happening? The fiber gap, a low-fiber diet is a key driver of microbiome depletion. Yeah, there’s antibiotics and cesarean sections and indoor plumbing but the only factor that has been empirically demonstrated to be important is a diet low in Macs. Not Big Macs; Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates, which is a fancy name for fiber found in whole plant foods and resistant starch found mostly in beans, peas, lentils, and whole grains. Our intake of dietary fiber and our intake of whole plant foods is negligibly low in the western world when
compared to what we evolved to eat over millions of years. Such a low-fiber diet provides insufficient nutrients for our gut microbes leading not only to the loss of bacterial diversity richness but also to the reduction in the production of that beneficial fermentation and products that they make with the fiber. We are, in effect, starving our microbial self.
What are we going to do about the deleterious consequences of a diet deficient in whole plant foods?
Create new-fangled functional foods, of course, and supplements, and drugs, prebiotics, probiotics, symbiotics; think how much money there is to be made.
Or we could just eat the way our bodies were meant to eat.