Last edited 08/2018 and last reviewed 06/2021

Classically, diverticular disease is believed to occur as a result of deficiency of dietary fibre.

  • dietary fiber intake has been shown to be inversely associated with the risk of developing diverticular disease
    • however a large cross sectional study failed to link low fiber diet as a risk factor for the development of diverticulosis
      • in fact, this study reported that dose dependent high fiber diets were associated with a higher prevalence of diverticulosis
  • although dietary fiber may not prevent diverticulosis, it has been shown to play a role in preventing diverticular disease
    • a study carried out with 47,033 patients observed that adherence to a vegetarian diet reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death from diverticular disease

Probably aging is as important a factor in the development of diverticular disease.

Other risk factors for diverticulosis include:

  • diets high in red meat and fat
  • medications – NSAIDs, corticosteroids, opiates
  • obesity
  • smokers relative to non-smokers (1)

Several protective factors have also been reported:

  • vegetarian diets
  • increased physical activity
  • medications – calcium channel blockers and statins
  • higher vitamin D – reduce the risk of hospitalisation for diverticulitis (1)


  1. Feuerstein JD, Falchuk KR. Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Aug;91(8):1094-104