High-fiber diet for diverticular disease can include seeds
BY AP Wire Service
Monday, November 19, 2012
11/19/12 at 4:07 AM
Dear Readers: You are sending me lots of great questions. Sometimes my answers prompt you to send additional questions - and comments. Sometimes your comments take issue with something I've said. Periodically, like today and tomorrow, I'll devote the column to the questions and comments you've sent me.
Seeds, Corn, Nuts and Diverticular Disease In a recent column I recommended a high-fiber diet for diverticular disease. Among the good sources of fiber I recommended were seeds, corn, nuts and popcorn. Several readers who have diverticular disease wrote me that their doctors had told them to avoid these foods.
Their doctors were taught the same thing I was: Seeds, corn, nuts and popcorn were bad for people with diverticular disease. In this disease, small balloon-like pouches push out from the wall of the large intestine. These little pouches can bleed or become infected, inflamed and painful. The theory behind the dietary advice was that a small and hard-to-digest piece of food - like a kernel of corn, or a piece of a nut or popcorn - could get stuck in the neck of the pouch. That, in turn, could cause the pouch to become infected and inflamed.
It was a reasonable theory. However, a major study based at Harvard called the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found no link between these foods in the diet and flare-ups of diverticular disease. If anything, people who ate seeds, nuts and popcorn had fewer flare-ups. Furthermore, two experts have stated in one of the major textbooks of medicine, called UpToDate, the following: "The authors have seen tens of thousands of diverticula and never seen a single seed (stuck in the neck of the pouch)."
So I no longer advise patients with diverticular disease to avoid these foods. They are all good sources of fiber. Several large studies indicate that people who have high-fiber diets for many years are less likely to develop diverticular disease.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106