Starch Might Help Reduce Meat-Related Cancer Risk

Eat a lot of red meat? Don’t skip the potatoes.

A new study published in Cancer Prevention Research has found that starch can act like fibre in the gut and possibly help prevent certain types of colorectal cancers. Researchers had volunteers eat either a red meat diet (consisting of 300 grams of lean red meat) or a red meat diet with a starch (same amount of meat, but with forty grams of butyrated resistant starch). Examples: beans, chickpeas, potatoes, lentils, and some types of corn.

Volunteers followed these diets for four weeks, and after that, researchers found that those who’d followed the red meat diet had a 30% increase in genetic molecules called miR-17-92, which is associated with colorectal cancers. Volunteers who’d ate the starch, however, had no such trouble. Then, the two groups switched diets, and red meat raised miR-17-92 levels amongst the previous starch-eaters. However, in the new starch eaters, levels of miR-17-92 dropped back to normal.

The takeaway here is that too much meat is bad for you, but you can mitigate damage. Past studies have supported eating fibre (keep it regular!), but now we know that starch will do in a pinch.


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