Consumption of nuts, corn, popcorn, and berries was not associated with an increased risk for diverticular disease in a prospective cohort study (Health Professionals Follow-up Study) (JAMA. 2008;300:907-914). Men aged 40-75 years without diverticulosis (or its complications), cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease at baseline (N=47,228) answered self-administered questionnaires. Over the next 18 years, participants were followed every two years for medical information and every four years for dietary information. Diverticulitis developed in 801 patients (1.7%), and 383 patients (0.8%) had diverticular bleeding.
Comparing men with intake at least twice weekly vs. intake less than once monthly, the risk for diverticulitis was reduced for popcorn (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.56-0.92) and possibly for nuts (adjusted HR 0.8, 95% CI 0.63-1.01). There were no associations with corn consumption or with berry consumption (strawberries or blueberries). None of these food groups was associated with diverticular bleeding.
This study does not establish the safety or risk of specific foods in patients with known diverticulosis, but the presumption is that many participants had unknown diverticulosis and did not appear harmed by ingestion of nuts, corn, popcorn, or berries.