Diets rich in refined fibre may increase liver cancer risk: Study

Many people commonly consume fibre-enriched foods to promote weight loss and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer

Researchers from the University of Toledo in the US have found that diets rich in highly refined fibre like inulin may increase the risk of liver cancer, particularly in individuals who have a vascular deformity in which blood from the intestines bypasses the liver. The discovery could help clinicians identify people who are at higher risk of liver cancer years in advance of any tumours forming and potentially enable individuals to reduce that risk through simple dietary modifications.

While the researchers are not arguing broadly against the health-promoting benefits of fibre, they are urging attention to what kind of fibre certain individuals eat, underscoring the importance of personalized nutrition.

“All fibres are not made equal, and all fibres are not universally beneficial for everyone. People with liver problems associated with increased bile acids should be cautious about refined, fermentable fibre,” said the researchers. “If you have a leaky gut liver, you need to be careful of what you eat, because what you eat will be handled in a different way.”

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