Human Health & Nutrition

Dietary influences on N-nitroso compounds in the gut

N-nitroso compounds (NOCs) can be formed by chemical reactions in the gut, and are potentially carcinogenic. To identify dietary components that contribute to the formation of, or provide protection against, NOCs we analysed data from three controlled dietary intervention trials. During the trials, obese men were fed different weight loss diets, with varying intakes of red meat, protein, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamin C and nitrate.

a variety of healthy foodsThe amounts consumed were recorded and stool samples were collected and analysed for NOC concentrations. We investigated which dietary intake variables were responsible for changes in faecal NOC by regressing the NOC data on one or more of the intake variables, accounting for differences between individuals, study groups and study duration using random effects models with various residual error structures. Our models identified that, in addition to red meat intake being an important contributor to the formation of NOCs, reduced total energy intake from low carbohydrate weight loss diets and increased nitrate intake are also associated with an increase in NOCs. Conversely, the intakes of dietary vitamin C and dietary fibre were found to play a potentially protective role. Our findings highlight the importance of balancing potentially problematic foods (red meat, nitrate) with protective ones such as vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Further details from: Grietje Holtrop

Article date 2013

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Human Health & Nutrition