Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Does super efficient starch absorption promote diverticular disease?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 28 June 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:1708
  1. J R Thornton,
  2. A Dryden,
  3. J Kelleher,
  4. M S Losowsky


    The amount of starch escaping absorption in the small intestine was measured in eight patients with symptomatic diverticular disease and eight controls. Unabsorbed starch was calculated from breath hydrogen measurements after a potato meal compared with the hydrogen response to lactulose. The proportion of unabsorbed starch was low in all the patients (mean 3.3%) and was only about a quarter of that in the controls (12.4%; p less than 0.01). These findings confirm that unabsorbed starch provides an important quantity of carbohydrate reaching the colon and suggest that super efficient starch absorption, by reducing this provision, may promote the development of diverticular disease.