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Does Atkins Diet Help Prevent Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is the number two killer among all cancer deaths in the United States.  The American Cancer Society lists the consumption of red meat as a common factor linked to several forms of cancer, including colon cancer.  So, can the Atkins diet which advocates the consumption of high-protein foods (such as red meats) actually help prevent colon cancer? 

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While the Atkins diet may not be able to help prevent colon cancer, it does not necessarily increase risk either.  Where colon cancer is concerned, it is actually fiber that seems to be the factor you want to be concerned about.  Fiber helps speed food through the digestive tract by adding bulk to stool.  Fiber also absorbs toxins produced during the digestion of red meats such as secondary bile.

Fiber is very important to colon cancer prevention because it simply helps the body evacuate feces and waste easier.  Your stool is filled with harmful bacteria and toxins that need evacuated from the body at regular intervals (or bowel movements).  But when the body cannot get rid of waste, the harmful bacteria and toxins may be reabsorbed into the blood stream.  These bacteria and toxins then weaken the immune system and leave the body more susceptible to other medical problems, including colon cancer.

Not all toxins and harmful bacteria are reabsorbed by the blood streamâ??many remain behind in the colon as well.  Even when the body is functioning normally and evacuating waste in a timely manner, the colon remains a toxic waste dump filled with toxins and other cancer-causing substances.  But, when a person goes on the Atkins diet and stops consuming carbohydrates, then they drastically reduce their fiber intake.  Constipation is common during the first few weeks of the Atkins diet.  Although this tends to be a temporary condition, the fact remains that fiber intake is greatly reduced and this puts you at increased risk for colon cancer.

Polyps are growths inside the colon that can become cancerous over time and are considered precursors to colon cancer.  Research has shown that a diet high in fiber will reduce the size and quantity of polyps in 3-6 months.  Therefore, the inclusion of fiber supplements to any Atkins diet plan can give the body its fiber while not compromising the diet itself.

Daily supplements of 15 mg of wheat bran fiber are recommended if you are not getting fiber in your diet through customary sources such as watery fruits and vegetables.  Those on the Atkins diet are highly encouraged to take such supplements if constipation does occur because this signals that fiber intake has indeed dropped too much.   While the Atkins diet does not specifically prevent colon cancer, the inclusion of fiber supplements can reduce the size of polyps and therefore lower the odds of contracting the fatal condition.




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