If fried chicken and burgers are among your favorite foods, you're probably American. And if you eat them all the time, you probably shouldn't do that.
A new study in Nature Communications found that when South Africans adopted an American diet — you know, one heavy in processed foods — for two weeks, their gut bacteria changed so much it actually increased their chance of getting colon cancer. Yes, only two weeks.
For the study, researchers asked 20 fast food-loving Americans to swap diets with 20 people living in rural South Africa. The food changes resulted in "remarkable" changes in biomarkers of bowel cancer risk — on both sides of the experiment.
"In just two weeks, a change in diet from a Westernized composition to a traditional African high-fiber, low-fat diet reduced these biomarkers of cancer risk, indicating that it is likely never too late to modify the risk of colon cancer," lead researcher Dr. Stephen O'Keefe told The Age.
While this is a bit scary, it also provides us with much-needed hope. The damage can be reversed. You can start by swapping out that side of fries for a side of beans instead.
(h/t The Age)
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