Red Meat and Diverticulosis
Updated: Nov 15
Can eating red meat increase the risk of diverticulosis?
Do you eat a lot of red meat? Are you suffering from abdominal cramps, constipation or bloating? If so, you might want to consider the findings below about the link between red meat and diverticulosis…
What is Diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis is the general name for a common digestive disorder that causes small bulges or sacs to form in the wall of the colon (large intestine). These sacs can form anywhere in the colon but are most commonly found close to the rectum, known as the sigmoid colon.
Diverticulosis itself is not usually a problem, as the sacs are harmless and very rarely cause issues. Most people with diverticulosis don’t even realise they have it but occasionally may experience certain symptoms including mild cramps, constipation or bloating. However, if the sacs become infected, a more serious condition called diverticulitis can develop.
What is Diverticulitis?
There are a variety of factors, such as stools getting trapped in the sacs, which may cause inflammation and infection. If the sacs do become inflamed, they can burst, releasing bacteria into the abdominal cavity and causing abdominal pain (usually on the lower left side), nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and fever like symptoms.
This condition is called diverticulitis and can lead to further complications, occasionally requiring hospitalisation and surgery.
Studies have shown that eating red meat, particularly unprocessed red meat, can increase the risk of developing diverticulitis by 58% in men.
From these studies, the patients who ate large quantities of red meat also exercised less and ate less fibre. High fibre diets are associated with a reduced risk of developing diverticulitis.
Researchers found that substituting one daily portion of red meat with poultry or fish reduced the risk of developing the condition by 20%!
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