5 August 2014

Red meat-eaters should add resistant starch to their diet to reduce bowel cancer risk.

The study suggests that red meat and resistant starch combined have opposite effects on a particular molecule that promotes bowel cancer.

We’ve known for some time that a diet high in red meat may increase the risk of bowel cancer. This new evidence suggests the consumption of resistant starch may reverse some of the damaging effects of red meat.

Unlike most starches, resistant starch escapes digestion in the stomach and small intestine, and passes through to the colon (large bowel) where it has similar properties to fibre.

Lead author Dr Karen Humphreys, from Adelaide’s Flinders University, said with meat consumption on the rise, the findings highlight the importance of resistance starch in our diet.

Good examples of natural sources of resistant starch include bananas that are still slightly green, cooked and cooled potatoes such as potato salad, whole grains, beans, chickpeas and lentils.

The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the CSIRO and Flinders Medical Research Foundation. Read more here.