New recipes

Why We Should All Eat Watermelon Before It's Too Late

Why We Should All Eat Watermelon Before It's Too Late


It’s summer. Smoke from the barbecue dances into the bright sky, fading into the heat. The sweet, clean crunch sends you to another place, and suddenly the air and the smells and the heat are not oppressive at all. The hero behind an unassuming green rind has brought yet another barbeque to a satisfying close.

Though usually associated with American summertime ritual, watermelon was first cultivated in Egypt nearly 5,000 years ago. Its seeds have been recovered in tombs of ancient pharaohs, supposedly buried with them to nourish them through their journey to the afterlife. Early voyagers used the melon, composed mostly of water, as our name for it suggests, to stay hydrated across desert terrain, and sold its valued seeds along African trade routes. In the tenth century, watermelon made its way to China on merchant ships. The Moors carried the fruit to Europe by the 1300s and it landed on Central American shores 200 years later. Shortly after that, watermelon traveled up the Mississippi Valley. Its name first appeared in English, as "water millions," in 1615, in the diary of English merchant in Japan.

Today, the USDA estimates that the average American eats more than 15 pounds of watermelon a year. Women over 60, Southerners, and suburbanites are more likely to exceed this (somewhat feeble, in my opinion) amount. Summertime state fairs seek to find the heaviest, roundest, most awe-inspiring watermelons their region has to offer and challenge unassuming contestants to try their skill at seed-spitting. Texas native Lee Wheelis set a high bar for competition in 1989 with his world-record spit of 69 feet 9 1/8 inches. Such lighthearted displays of community and togetherness have come to define the fruit, transforming it into a symbol of unremitting joy for adults and children alike.

Through my younger years, I harbored a deep fascination for my faux-kitchenette set. Stylishly outfitted with synthetic pots, pans, and food of all sorts, my little kitchen was a world of creative possibility. However, as my mother tells me, my eye always gravitated towards the same triangular hunk of plastic — the watermelon slice. I paired the slice with every meal offering, whether it was sweet or savory, salty or sour. Clearly, I harbored some sort of intense love for watermelon’s appearance. It’s easy to understand why. Its striking red and green hues create an edible dichotomy. With interspersed black seeds piercing its flaky flesh, the fruit’s pattern is universally recognizable. A full watermelon is the size of a small child, making its handling an undertaking that requires effort and care.The matted sheen of its rind protects the contents inside, but if dropped, the melon bursts into an abstract display of juice and splatter. Beauty and risk. These are things that made the watermelon so special to me.

As I grew older, my connection to the fruit slowly began its shift away from my collection of plastic trinkets. It traveled a couple of states over from the basement in my Connecticut home to a front porch in the Detroit suburbs. Every summer, I spent a few weeks visiting my mom’s sister and her family in Michigan. My aunt and I have always been close, brought together by a common love for corny jokes, summer storms, and, you guessed it, watermelon. We’d pass our days relaxing on her outside stoop, eating until we had unearthed every last bit of sweetness, always wary of leaving any red behind on the rind.

Once we’d finished one melon, we’d go inside to cut another. I’d stand at eye level with the counter, eagerly anticipating the moment the green would be parted to expose the red belly underneath. The promise of that subtle, sweet, cool crunch would encourage us to devour this one even quicker than the last. I loved those Michigan summers and that porch and that watermelon. The fruit lends itself to such memories of togetherness. After all, one rarely sees someone eating a slice of it alone.The matted sheen of its rind protects the contents inside, but if dropped, the melon bursts into an abstract display of juice and splatter. These are things that made the watermelon so special to me.

Although it’s comforting to trust that watermelon will forever maintain such ties to social reminiscence and community, fundamental dangers lie ahead for the fruit. At this point, we’ve all seen it — that vacant, famished limpness of cubed, seedless watermelon. Year-round, this imposter sits in plastic containers that line the shelves of groceries and delis and airport kiosks and megastores. The only companion it requires is a plastic fork, maybe a napkin or two. Children are opening their lunchboxes to find the dull pink squares, no longer privy to the age-old hallway rumor that swallowing a black seed inevitably spurs the growth of a full watermelon in the tummy. Consumers have been baited by the pre-packaged fruit’s promise of ease, willing to compromise taste and integrity for convenience.

The paradoxical shift began some 50 years ago when growers realized that crossing a 22-chromosome watermelon plant with a 44-chromosome one yields a sterile, seedless offspring. Since first being introduced on the market, these seedless varieties have become the norm, and today fewer than 16 percent of watermelons purchased in American grocery stores bear seeds.

The demise of the common watermelon has not stopped there. The latest craze in this transformative fruiting saga targets the melon’s spherical shape. In an attempt to increase shipping efficiency, nearly a decade ago, Japanese producers invented the square watermelon. The cube is formed by placing a newly sprouted seed into a box for the duration of its growing period — a method that is now somehow marketed as consumer DIY. (There is a slightly disturbing WikiHow guide to the process.)

Dramatic agricultural changes have coincided with shifts in consumer preferences. In a New York Times piece, South Carolina grower Bradley O’Neal describes how much more rewarding the market work used to be. Speaking from his Fairfax property, Coosaw Farms, O’Neal details his father and grandfather’s daily experiences loading their seeded, fresh melons onto trains passing through town en route to terminal markets in cities like New York. Since Bradley has taken over the business, the watermelon industry has suffered from America’s obsession with what he calls “perfect produce.” People reject watermelons with even the slightest scratch or blemish, which retailers then return to farms at the grower’s cost. The price of melons has remained relatively steady over the years, even though production costs have skyrocketed. Seeded melons are selling wholesale for about eight cents a pound plus shipping. That’s a pound that costs O’Neal around seven cents to produce. “Now we’ve got so much invested,” he says. “It’s scary.”

In Americans’ pursuit for a visually pleasing, easily consumed produce, they have forgotten what makes watermelon so distinct. It is a fruit that has no right to be packaged, processed, cleaned up, or tampered with. It is not meant to be eaten by one individual, but shared among a community, or at least an aunt and her niece on a front step. In the deepest depths of the ripest summertime watermelon remains a reminder that everyone is united by something, even if it’s just a love for the deep red that sits inside the cool green.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Time to drop the "no eating" rule before a colonoscopy?

New research suggests that the grueling process of preparing for a colonoscopy may not have to be endured on an empty stomach.

Colonoscopy patients typically have to forgo all solid foods and go on a clear-liquid diet while taking laxatives the day before their procedure. However, this new study found that those who ate a limited amount of low-fiber foods were happier and didn't suffer any negative effects during their exam.

In fact, their bowels were actually better prepared for the procedure than those of the patients who stuck to traditional clear-liquid diets, the researchers said.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," said study author Dr. Jason Samarasena. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 134,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. But while colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 for most adults (and even earlier for those at high risk), many don't undergo the procedure. The required preparation is simply too much for some to bear, the researchers said.

The clear liquid is designed to keep the colon clear during a colonoscopy. "Things that are hard or fibrous like seeds can clog the scope," explained Dr. Theodore Levin, chief of gastroenterology with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Trending News

Enter the idea of a low-fiber diet. The concept is to allow patients to eat foods that aren't likely to stick around in the bowel and disrupt a physician's examination of the intestines.

In the new study, researchers assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

Samarasena said the low-fiber food -- also known as "low-residue" food -- clears out of the colon because it easily liquefies in the digestive system. "The problem isn't food," he said. "It's specifically the type of food that you'll have on the day before. Things that liquefy quickly will get washed out easily."

By contrast, he said, high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are often undigested when they make their way to the colon, and they can interfere with the examination of the colon.

But why would those who ate food actually have clearer bowels? Eating "probably stimulates more bowel movements the day before the procedure," Samarasena said. "You've started the colon-emptying process with the food that you've been eating."

The study was small, but Samarasena said other research has produced similar results.

Levin, the gastroenterologist, said the study is useful, but patients should talk to their physician before changing their colonoscopy prep.

"It is worth discussing, though," said Levin, who allows diabetic patients and some others to consider a low-fiber diet.

As for himself, Levin said he'd probably try a clear-liquid diet first, to maximize the chances of a "well-prepped colon," but "the low-residue diet is worth looking into."

The findings were to be presented Monday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

First published on May 24, 2016 / 10:58 AM

© 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.