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Research has shown the gut microbiome, or the trillions of fungi, bacteria and other microbes that live in your digestive tract, can have an impact on digestion, obesity and your immune system.

It is also associated with several different cancer types, including colorectal cancer.

To further study that association, Moffitt Cancer Center is opening a study to investigate how two different diets can impact cancer risk.

Dr. Tiffany Carson, researcher in Moffitt’s Health Outcomes and Behavior Program

Dr. Tiffany Carson, researcher in Moffitt’s Health Outcomes and Behavior Program

“We have learned a lot over the last decade about the gut microbiome and we know there are some bacterial groups that are overly abundant in individuals with colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Tiffany Carson, a researcher in Moffitt’s Health Outcomes and Behavior Program and principal study investigator. “What we want to do is study behaviors that we can use to modify the microbiome to reduce risk for cancer and create a generally healthier gut environment that should lead to a lower risk for cancer in addition to a number of other chronic diseases that we’re learning are linked to gut bacteria as well.”

The DINING study is enrolling Black and white men and women between ages 19 and 65 who are cancer free, and generally healthy with no antibiotic or probiotic use in the last 90 days. Each participant will be randomly assigned to either the standard American diet or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. The standard American diet will mimic the macronutrient intake of the average American, while the DASH diet will consist of foods high in fiber and whole grain, fruits and vegetables, lean meats and limited dairy.

Everyone will start with the standard American diet for one week. Half of participants will continue on the standard American diet for an additional four weeks while the other half will follow the DASH diet.  There will then be an additional two-week observation period during which time participants will be advised to return to eating as they choose. The study will provide all meals and snacks for the 5-week feeding period, and participants will be required to come to Moffitt to pick up meals and provide biospecimen samples on a weekly basis. All participants will be compensated.

The goal is to study more than 100 individuals over a four-year period. For more information or to enroll in the study, email or complete their contact form.