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Diet and colorectal cancer: fibre back on the menu?
  1. R P Arasaradnam1,
  2. S A Riley1,
  3. B M Corfe2
  1. 1Department of Gastroenterology, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Clinical Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr R P Arasaradnam
    Department of Gastroenterology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Northern General Hospital, Herries Rd, Sheffield S5 7AU; rameshpahotmail.com

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The Romans believed that illnesses stemmed from the “heart” but the Greeks from the gut. Were the Greeks right after all? Dietary influence on colorectal cancer (CRC) has been extensively studied but with very little agreed consensus. Pederson et al (Gut 2003;52:861–7) reawaken this idea by showing a causal relationship between alcohol and rectal cancer while Dray et al (Gut 2003;52:868–73) conclude that prolonged survival post curative surgery for CRC was associated with high energy intake. What about fibre?

Burkitt was the first to attribute CRC to fibre deficiency1 which was later challenged by Cleave as excess sugar or “the saccharine disease”.2 A wealth of epidemiological and interventional studies have presented conflicting views. Particularly damning were …

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