We all love a good Super Bowl party! It is a great time of the year. The weather (usually cold), the friends, the big game, and of course…..THE FOOD! Ohhhh the food, and other beverages. It all sounds great, but it could make your GI tract in no mood for a celebrating a touchdown dance! Especially if you suffer from diverticulosis.
What is Diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis is the presence of small pockets, or tics, in the wall of the colon, primarily of the sigmoid colon just above the rectum. The condition is uncommon in cultures and countries where diets feature lots of high fiber foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables. In industrialized countries, like the United States and Great Britain, our low fiber diet leads to poor bowel habits. This leads to an increase in pressure in the colonic wall as it works to remove the stool, and thus “tics” form along the colon lining.
By the age of 80, 2/3rds of Americans will have some degree of diverticulosis
However, many won’t even know it unless they have a colonoscopy. For those unlucky 10 to 20 percent of patients who have an “attack” of diverticulitis, the symptoms are easy to recognize: left lower quadrant abdominal pain and tenderness, fever, and an elevated white blood cell counton blood testing. A CT scan (specific x-ray of the intra-abdominal organs) may show inflammation around the colon.
So, back to the Super Bowl. Can eating all that junk food: popcorn, peanuts, and chili dip lead to a diverticular attack? Well,it depends. If you are asking me, ” Is there any convincing scientific evidence that popcorn, seeds, or nuts become entrapped in the tics and leads to diverticulitis?”
The answer is: NO. HOWEVER, if processed foods like chips, or salsa, in combination with greasy snacks, are consumed in unusally greater amounts, the answer is MAYBE. WHY? You ask. Most dietitians and gastroenterologists agree that the lack of fiber in party foods combined with increased fat and spices leads to an over active ( spasmodic) colon. This increase in activity can lead to pressure build up within the colon, and subsequently results in pressure in any diverticuli. So, watch out for Super Bowl party food, it may leave your diverticulosis feeling like A BLINDSIDED SACK!
My advice to avoid that situation: drink plenty of water before and after the event, get a proper amount of fiber in your snacks, keep the processed snacks in moderation, and never overdo the alcohol. Have fun and enjoy the commercials too!