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Johns Hopkins Health Alert

The Truth About Diverticulosis and Nuts

Comments (7)

A reader asks, "I've been diagnosed with diverticulosis. Does this mean I can no longer eat nuts and seeds?"  Here's the answer and it may surprise you .

A. No. The recommendation to stay away from nuts and seeds persists despite the lack of supporting evidence. In fact, the available evidence suggests the contrary: Nuts and seeds aren't harmful to someone with diverticulosis.

Diverticulosis refers to the presence of small, bulging pouches in the colon called diverticula. Typical symptoms of diverticulosis include mild cramps, bloating and constipation, though many patients remain asymptomatic.

Problems begin when the small pouches become infected or inflamed. This condition, called diverticulitis, develops in about 15 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis.

It was once believed that undigested bits of food, including nuts, seeds and popcorn hulls, contributed to diverticulitis by becoming caught in the pouches. But studies have found nothing to support this theory.

What is known without a doubt is that a diet high in fiber is the best way to treat or prevent diverticular disease. If you don't get enough fiber through fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you can try psyllium, which is found in bulk-forming laxatives like Metamucil.

Posted in Digestive Health on July 30, 2012


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Health Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the Johns Hopkins editors cannot be answered in this space.

The views expressed here do not constitute medical advice, and do not represent the position of Johns Hopkins Medicine or Remedy Health Media, LLC, which has no responsibility for any comments posted on this site.


Doubts about fiber now exist as of January 2012, cf Peery, A.F. Gastroenterology, Jan. 23, 2012, cited on WEB-MD

More fiber according to diet recall was associated with more diverticuli on colonoscopy.

You're correct on the nuts to 'no nuts' comment.

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