Starch intake may counter colon-cancer risk from meat-heavy diet

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Researchers based at Flinders University, in Adelaide, Australia, have found that ingestion of starch found in root vegetables, grains, and legumes may serve to counter the detrimental effects of a diet heavy in red meat.

The researchers recorded the results after 23 individuals were randomized to either consume 0.6 lbs. (300 grams) of red meat per day for four weeks, or to eat the same amount of red meat with the addition of 0.1 lbs. (40 grams) of “resistant” starch per day. (So-called resistant starches are carbohydrates that are not digested in the small intestine. A starch supplement was used for the purposes of this study, but naturally occurring resistant starches may be found in foods such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and potatoes.) After the end of the four weeks testing and a suitable interval period, the participants switched diets; so each participant was tested for both the red meat and red meat plus starch diet. Red meat consumption causes microRNA changes that increase the risk of colon cancer, specifically increasing levels of microRNAs associated with colorectal cancer; but intake of resistant starch has the opposite effect of RNA levels, countering some of the red meat effect.

Study authors noted that the red meat intake by study participants may be higher than that seen in the general population, but the starch intake was indeed representative of the public. 

Starch intake may counter colon-cancer risk from meat-heavy diet
Starch intake may counter colon-cancer risk from meat-heavy diet
Eating your steak with a side of potatoes and beans may be one way to reduce the colon cancer risk that comes with eating red meat — findings from a new study suggests the "resistant" starch, found in root vegetables, grains and legumes, may reverse some of the damaging effects of red meat on cells.
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