Linked with bacteria reduction, scientists claim

Low-carbohydrate diets may increase the risk of people suffering bowel cancer, scientists have claimed, BBC News Online reports.


Researchers from Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute believe there is a link between eating less carbohydrate and reducing cancer-fighting bacteria.


The Rowett study saw 19 overweight men given three diets containing different levels of carbohydrate.


Low-carbohydrate diets, such as Atkins, have their critics, however supporters say studies have shown effectiveness.


The researchers said they had discovered a link between consuming carbohydrate and the production of a fatty acid in the gut that protects against colorectal cancer.

The acid, called butyrate, is produced by bacteria and helps kill off cancerous cells.

The researchers said they found low-carbohydrate regimes could cause a four-fold reduction in the cancer-fighting bacteria.

The diets start by reducing carbohydrate intake, including foods such as potatoes and bread.

The researchers said the danger comes if dieters are tempted to keep the level low.