High fibre diet offers unequal cancer protection suggests research

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has urged caution over research that claimed men who eat a high fibre diet gain a third more protection against bowel cancer than women. "We know that eating a healthy diet, including plenty of fibre, is important in preventing bowel cancer," said Dr Julie Sharp, science information manager at Cancer Research UK.

"While it is possible that there are sex differences in response to dietary fibre, other large studies have shown that a high fibre diet is equally important for both men and women."

Although the idea that a high-fibre diet might reduce the risk of bowel cancer was first suggested in 1971, the size of the effect has been difficult to pin down.

"The results of the current analyses indicate that men may experience more benefit from dietary fibre than do women and may help explain some of the discrepant results reported in the literature," said lead author Elizabeth Jacobs.

Many large scale studies have found that a high-fibre diet has health benefits for both men and women.