More Proof High-Fiber Diets Help Prevent Cancers, Heart Disease

Alan Mozes wrote . . . . . . . . .

A large, new analysis helps confirm that eating lots of grains, vegetables and fruit lowers your risk of dying early from cancer or heart disease.

When compared with those who consume very little fiber, people at the high end of the fiber-eating spectrum saw their risk for dying from heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and/or colon cancer plummet by 16 to 24 percent, investigators reported.

The team also concluded that more is definitely more: For every additional 8 grams of dietary fiber a person consumes, the risk for each of those illnesses was found to fall by another 5 to 27 percent.

“The health benefits of fiber are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism,” said study author Andrew Reynolds, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

“What really surprised us was the range of conditions that higher intakes of dietary fiber seemed to improve,” Reynolds added. “Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and [colon] cancers are some of the most detrimental diseases of our time.”

The conclusions follow a deep-dive into the results of 185 observational studies conducted over the last four decades, alongside the findings of another 58 clinical trials involving more than 4,600 participants.

Reynolds and his colleagues reported their work, which was commissioned by the World Health Organization, in the Jan. 10 online edition of The Lancet.

The research team noted that worldwide most people eat less than 20 grams of fiber each day, a figure that dips to just 15 grams per day among Americans. For examples of foods: 1 slice of whole wheat bread has 2 grams of fiber; 1 cup of boiled broccoli has 5 grams; 1 medium orange has 3 grams, and 1 cup of cooked black beans has 15 grams.

But investigators found that taking in 25 to 29 grams of dietary fiber per day is just an “adequate” starting point, with greater protection against premature death accruing more heartily to those who routinely consume even greater amounts of fiber.

For example, every additional 15-gram bump in daily whole grain intake was found to curtail an individual’s overall risk of early death — as well as their risk of early death from heart disease — by between 2 and 19 percent.

What’s more, the researchers found little evidence that eating more dietary fiber was in any way risky.

And even for those whose diets have for years largely sidestepped fiber, Reynolds suggested it’s never too late to start embracing fiber’s benefits.

“We saw this from the trials where participants were asked to increase their fiber intakes,” he said. “When considering all the trials of increasing fiber intakes, those participants that did reduced both their body weight and the total cholesterol in their blood, two important predictors of disease.”

That thought was seconded by Dr. Gerald Bernstein, program coordinator for the Friedman Diabetes Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“I do not think there is a time to start that is not beneficial,” he said. “Of course, combined with some exercise and calorie control the benefits become exponential.”

As to the New Zealand study results, Bernstein observed that “none of this is surprising.” But he suggested that the findings “should lead to a change in dietary recommendations.”

That thought was seconded by Lona Sandon, program director and associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition for the school of health professions at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

“This is just one more that supports and further solidifies the recommendations registered dietitian nutritionists have been making for years,” said Sandon.

“It’s never too late to start on a healthy diet,” she said. “Sure, you may have missed out on some health prevention years and therefore your risk will not be as low as someone who has been eating whole grains all their life. But you have nothing to lose by giving a healthy diet a try.”

Source: HealthDay


Read also:

Fiber: It’s Not Just for Adults . . . . .

High intake of dietary fiber and whole grains associated with reduced risk of non-communicable diseases . . . . .


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Stop Adding Cancer-causing Chemicals to Our Bacon, Experts Tell UK Meat Industry

Jamie Doward wrote . . . . . . . . .

The reputation of the meat industry will sink to that of big tobacco unless it removes cancer-causing chemicals from processed products such as bacon and ham, a coalition of experts and politicians warn today.

Led by Professor Chris Elliott, the food scientist who ran the UK government’s investigation into the horse-meat scandal, and Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, the coalition claims there is a “consensus of scientific opinion” that the nitrites used to cure meats produce carcinogens called nitrosamines when ingested.

It says there is evidence that consumption of processed meats containing these chemicals results in 6,600 bowel cancer cases every year in the UK – four times the fatalities on British roads – and is campaigning for the issue to be taken as seriously as sugar levels in food.

“Government action to remove nitrites from processed meats should not be far away,” Malhotra said. “Nor can a day of reckoning for those who dispute the incontrovertible facts. The meat industry must act fast, act now – or be condemned to a similar reputational blow to that dealt to tobacco.”

Other coalition members include Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson; former shadow environment secretaries Mary Creagh and Kerry McCarthy; the Tory chair of parliament’s cross-party group on food and health, David Amess; the Liberal Democrat vice-chair of Westminster’s cross-party children’s group, Joan Walmsley; nutritionist Dr Chris Gill; the Cancer Fund for Children, and John Procter MEP, who sits on the European parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee.

In a statement issued today, the coalition warns “that not enough is being done to raise awareness of nitrites in our processed meat and their health risks, in stark contrast to warnings regularly issued regarding sugar and fattening foods”.

In 2015 the World Health Organisation published evidence that linked processed meats to 34,000 cases of colorectal cancer worldwide each year – and identified nitrites and nitrosamines as the likely cause.

Two studies published this year have also raised concerns. Glasgow University researchers collated data from 262,195 British women that suggested reducing processed meat consumption could cut a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. And a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US study suggested a direct link between nitrites and the onset of mental health problems. Its 10-year analysis of more than 1,000 people found patients taken to hospital with manic episodes were three times more likely to have recently eaten nitrite-cured meat.

The coalition says the meat industry claims nitrites are essential to combat botulism and infection. But Malhotra said Parma ham producers have not used nitrites for 25 years.

Nitrites give cured products such as bacon and ham their attractive pink colour. Some companies are substituting these with natural alternatives. A year ago, Northern Irish company Finnebrogue launched the “first truly nitrite-free bacon”, with fruit and spice extracts. It is stocked by many major supermarkets. Ocado also sells nitrite-free streaky bacon fromNorthamptonshire-based Houghton Hams and a nitrite-free prosciutto from Unearthed.

Source: The Guardian

Researchers Develop Sensors to Detect and Measure Cancer’s Ability to Spread

Yadira Galindo wrote . . . . . . . . .

The spread of invasive cancer cells from a tumor’s original site to distant parts of the body is known as metastasis. It is the leading cause of death in people with cancer. In a paper published online in iScience, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers reported engineering sensors that can detect and measure the metastatic potential of single cancer cells.

“Cancer would not be so devastating if it did not metastasize,” said Pradipta Ghosh, MD, professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine departments of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, director of the Center for Network Medicine and senior study author.

“Although there are many ways to detect metastasis once it has occurred, there has been nothing available to ‘see’ or ‘measure’ the potential of a tumor cell to metastasize in the future. So at the Center for Network Medicine, we tackled this challenge by engineering biosensors designed to monitor not one, not two, but multiple signaling programs that drive tumor metastasis; upon sensing those signals a fluorescent signal would be turned on only when tumor cells acquired high potential to metastasize, and therefore turn deadly.”

Cancer cells alter normal cell communications by hijacking one of many signaling pathways to permit metastasis to occur. As the tumor cells adapt to the environment or cancer treatment, predicting which pathway will be used becomes difficult. By comparing proteins and protein modifications in normal versus all cancer tissues, Ghosh and colleagues identified a particular protein and its unique modification called tyrosine-phosphorylated CCDC88A (GIV/Girdin) that are only present in solid tumor cells. Comparative analyses indicated that this modification could represent a point of convergence of multiple signaling pathways commonly hijacked by tumor cells during metastasis.

The team used novel engineered biosensors and sophisticated microscopes to monitor the modification on GIV and found that, indeed, fluorescent signals reflected a tumor cell’s metastatic tendency. They were then able to measure the metastatic potential of single cancer cells and account for the unknowns of an evolving tumor biology through this activity. The result was the development of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) biosensors.

Although highly aggressive and adaptive, very few cancer cells metastasize and that metastatic potential comes and goes, said Ghosh. If metastasis can be predicted, this data could be used to personalize treatment to individual patients. For example, patients whose cancer is not predicted to metastasize or whose disease could be excised surgically might be spared from highly toxic therapies, said Ghosh. Patients whose cancer is predicted to spread aggressively might be treated with precision medicine to target the metastatic cells.

“It’s like looking at a Magic 8 Ball, but with a proper yardstick to measure the immeasurable and predict outcomes,” said Ghosh. “We have the potential not only to obtain information on single cell level, but also to see the plasticity of the process occurring in a single cell. This kind of imaging can be used when we are delivering treatment to see how individual cells are responding.”

The sensors need further refinement, wrote the authors, but have the potential to be a transformative advance for cancer cell biology.

Source: UC San Diego


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New Study Finds that Eating More Organic Food May Lower the Risk of Cancer

Sally Wadyka wrote . . . . . . . . .

A French study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, has found that people who eat a mostly organic diet reduce their overall cancer risk by 25 percent.

Working with the assumption that eating more organic food means consuming fewer pesticides, the researchers followed almost 70,000 people for an average of 4½ years. In their analysis, they accounted for many cancer risk factors, such as age, gender, lifestyle, diet, and education.

Although there was an overall reduction in cancer risk for those eating a mostly organic diet, the reduced risk was even greater for two specific forms of the disease: lymphoma (a 76 percent reduced risk) and postmenopausal breast cancer (a 34 percent reduced risk).

“The most surprising finding was the extent of the reduction, which is far from the usual risk observed for nutritional factors,” says Julia Baudry, of the Center of Research in Epidemiology and Statistics at the Sorbonne, Paris, and lead author of the study.

“There are lots of benefits to eating organic foods, and limiting exposure to pesticides is one of the biggest,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, a senior policy analyst and sustainability expert in the food safety and testing department at Consumer Reports. “This study adds to the current body of evidence supporting the health benefits of eating more organic foods.”

Examining the Cancer Connection

One of the requirements for a food to be labeled organic in Europe and the U.S. is that it must be produced without the use of most synthetic pesticides. About 40 pesticides currently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in conventional (non-organic) food production are classified as possible or probable carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 90 percent of us have detectable levels of pesticides in our blood and urine.

Previous research has found a link between eating more organic food and a reduced risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but not breast cancer. “One hypothesis explaining the inverse association between organic food intake and breast cancer [in the current study] may be the endocrine [hormone] disrupting effects of some pesticides,” Baudry says.

There are several limitations to this current study, which the researchers fully acknowledge. Though the number of people involved in the study was quite large, the group consists of volunteers who are mostly female, well-educated, and very health-conscious. In addition, study subjects were 44 years old on average at the start of the study, and they were followed for only 4½ years.

“This is a very difficult area to study, and it’s very hard to accurately assess habitual consumption of organic food,” says Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the department of nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and author of an independent commentary that accompanies the study.

“Overall, these are interesting results, but they are very preliminary,” says Hu. “And it would be premature to make organic food consumption recommendations based just on this study.”

Should You Eat Only Organic?

The No. 1 thing to focus on is following an overall healthy diet, Baudry says. “These findings should not prevent people from eating fruit and vegetables, whatever the farming system (organic or not), as they are important protective factors against cancer risk,” she explains.

Other lifestyle factors that play an important role in cancer prevention include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a diet that’s rich in whole grains, while avoiding or limiting alcohol, added sugars, refined grains, and red and processed meat.

Still, if organic options are available and fit into your budget, “Consumer Reports recommends opting for organic foods whenever possible, in part because they are produced without most synthetic pesticides,” Vallaeys says. In a 2015 analysis of government data on pesticide residues, CR’s experts found that some conventional fruits and vegetables pose a higher risk from pesticides than others. These include carrots, cranberries, green beans, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches.

Source: Consumer Reports


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Type 2 Diabetes Tied to Raised Risk of Cancer and Deaths

Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer and dying from certain forms of the disease, a new study suggests.

However, the researchers noted, the absolute increased risk is low.

“Our findings do not suggest that everyone who has diabetes will go on to develop cancer in later life,” said study leader Hulda Hrund Bjornsdottir, from the Swedish National Diabetes Register.

Her team analyzed data gathered between 1998 and 2014 from more than 450,000 people in Sweden with type 2 diabetes and more than 2 million people without diabetes who were followed for an average of seven years. The study focused on 12 types of cancer.

The study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect. However, compared to those without type 2 diabetes, people with the blood sugar disease had a 231 percent higher risk of liver cancer, a 119 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer and a 78 percent higher risk of uterine cancer.

In addition, those with diabetes had an increased risk of penile cancer (56 percent higher), kidney cancer (45 percent higher), gallbladder and bile duct cancer (32 percent higher), and stomach cancer (21 percent higher). They also had a 20 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer and bladder cancer, and a 5 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

The research was to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Berlin.

The findings don’t necessarily mean that diabetes somehow causes cancer, Bjornsdottir stressed. Instead, “diabetes and cancer share certain risk factors that might contribute to these associations, including obesity, smoking and diet,” she explained in a meeting news release.

When the investigators looked at the results over a 10-year period, they found there was a 38 percent greater increase in new cases of pancreatic cancer and a 30 percent greater increase in lung cancer incidence among people with type 2 diabetes than among those without the blood sugar disease.

The researchers also found that among patients with type 2 diabetes, death rates were 29 percent higher for prostate cancer, 25 percent higher for breast cancer and 9 percent higher for colon cancer, when compared with people without diabetes.

“With the number of people with type 2 diabetes doubling over the past 30 years, our findings underscore the importance of improving diabetes care,” Bjornsdottir said.

Now, with diabetes tied to cancer risk, “the importance of a healthy lifestyle is clearer than ever,” she added.

More than 415 million people worldwide have diabetes — about one in 11 adults — and the number is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040, the study authors noted.

Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay


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