High fiber, yogurt diet associated with lower lung cancer risk

October 25, 2019

A diet high in fiber and yogurt is associated with a reduced risk for lung cancer, according to a study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers published in JAMA Oncology.

The benefits of a diet high in fiber and yogurt have already been established for cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal cancer. The new findings based on an analysis of data from studies involving 1.4 million adults in the United States, Europe and Asia suggest this diet may also protect against lung cancer.

Participants were divided into five groups, according to the amount of fiber and yogurt they consumed. Those with the highest yogurt and fiber consumption had a 33% reduced lung cancer risk as compared to the group who did not consume yogurt and consumed the least amount of fiber.

"Our study provides strong evidence supporting the U.S. 2015-2020 Dietary Guideline recommending a high fiber and yogurt diet," said senior author Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, MPH, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, associate director for Global Health and co-leader of the Cancer Epidemiology Research Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

"This inverse association was robust, consistently seen across current, past and never smokers, as well as men, women and individuals with different backgrounds," she added.

Shu said the health benefits may be rooted in their prebiotic (nondigestible food that promotes growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines) and probiotic properties. The properties may independently or synergistically modulate gut microbiota in a beneficial way.

The study's lead authors are Jae Jeong Yang, PhD, a visiting research fellow from the Seoul National University, South Korea, and Danxia Yu, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt.
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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