Posted on: September 28th, 2021

A recent study published by JAMA shows that patients with high dietary fiber intake before colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery have a lower risk for complications.

The study was conducted in the Netherlands on patients with CRC going into surgery. Each patient was evaluated for fiber intake before the operation and the risks during surgery. The study looked at data from research conducted between 2010 and 2017. 

Dietary Fiber Intake

Each patient in the study had their dietary fiber intake assessed through a large questionnaire. The patients were offered a position in the study via doctor recommendations after they had been diagnosed with CRC.

The age of the participants in the study ranged from 61-72 years with a median age of 66. For gender, 64% of the subjects were men while the other 36% were women. Surgical complications arose in 17% of the operations.

“In stratified analyses, higher dietary fiber intake was associated with a lower risk for any postoperative complications among women (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.44-0.94), but there was no association among men (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.63-1.01). Fiber intake from vegetables (per 1 g per day) was determined to be inversely associated with any (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83-0.99) and surgical (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.78-0.97) complications.”

The researchers used logistic regression analysis and determined that high dietary fiber was associated with a lower risk for surgical complications. 

Researchers noted the sample size was small but the outcome was promising. Residual confounding could not be ruled out due to the strictly observational nature of the study.

Benefits of High Fiber Diets

The data from this study suggests that regular high fiber intake to surgery for CRC reduced the risk of surgical complications. High dietary fiber levels were not observed in any other capacity in this study.

Researchers noted the potential future implications of this study: “The findings suggest that improving preoperative dietary fiber intake may be considered in future prehabilitation programs for patients undergoing surgery for CRC.”  

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