Do whole grains really reduce your risk of colorectal cancer?

I just completed my B.S.N. and am about to begin my M.S.N., Ed. so, I had a moment to read some science (really write about it) for fun and personal reasons. Actually, I have been reading more health oriented research/data than my college assignments over the last year. This is due in part to my fascination of how I have been able to lose 130 pounds without exercise or combating hunger.  Our bodies are truly amazing machines. More about that subject later . . .

Reading a post on a great cooking blog recently, the subject of discussion was a recent meta-analysis’ findings regarding the benefits of whole grains in our diet. Here is the link to the BMJ article. Buy and large, the findings indicate a linear risk reduction of colorectal cancer associated with increased dietary fiber from whole grain intake (up to 60% risk reduction with 90 grams of fiber daily). Now this raised a huge flag especially since the study did not show any risk reduction associated with vegetable and fruit fiber intake.

90 grams! That’s a lot of fiber. The USDA (mind you, I am hesitant about some of their recommendations) suggests daily fiber intake of 35 grams. I did a little research and compared carbohydrate intake associated with study’s findings of fiber intake. Using nutritiondata I took a common whole grain item most health-conscious people would consider eating without question unless they are gluten intolerant or suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder. One average serving (26 gm) of this whole grain contains 11 gm carb/2 gm fiber. In order to get your 90 gm fiber from whole grains such as this, one would consume 495 gm carbohydrates (@ 2,000 calories). When broken down metabolically, this equals approximately 495 grams of sugar in our gut. This sugar (glucose) goes straight to our bloodstream in addition to competing with vitamin C receptors. The human body’s normal fasting glucose level equates to less than one teaspoon of sugar in our circulating blood. Here is a breakdown of fasting glucose levels.

Call me a doubting Dolly but literally taking the meta-analysis’ conclusion to consume 90 grams of fiber daily may be suggestive of a diet that does contribute to cancer, diabetes, obesity, AND heart disease. Subjecting our bodies to nearly 500 grams of sugar a day is not something I or anyone should be doing. Pancreatic burnout and chronic inflammation are two obvious conclusions of dietary recommendations such as this.

Eating this much whole grain may indeed reduce our risk of colorectal cancer, but one must consider the risk/benefit analysis (we really should do this much more closely with everything we do). The problem with this type of research is that it gets published in a variety of news outlets such as this, the general public swallows it hook, line, and sinker, and continues meandering down the collective path of obesity and disease.