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Science 25 March 2005

Cancers of the Gut and Western Ills [Change behavior]

Ian T. Johnson*

In their well-known 1981 review on the causes of cancer in the United States, Doll and Peto* estimated that around one-third of deaths from cancer could be attributed to diet and were therefore, in principle, preventable. Epidemiological evidence continues to support this general conclusion, but in contrast to cardiovascular disease, for which the link to nutrition is now generally recognized, the relationship between diet and cancer has made much less impact on both policy-makers and the general public. One reason for this is the absence of any single hypothesis on which to build a dietary strategy for cancer prevention; this itself is a reflection of the complexity of human diets and the obvious fact that cancer is not a single disease. Although there has been huge progress in our understanding of the molecular basis of many cancers in recent years, most of the new knowledge has been deployed in the search for new therapies rather than to understand the role of nutrition in their causation. Nevertheless, the mechanisms linking diet to cancer can be understood and exploited for prevention as much as for treatment, and there are sound scientific and strategic reasons to focus such research on carcinomas of the alimentary tract.

Chemical & Engineering News Nov 22, 2004 pg 83

Metabolic Syndrome

A.Maureen Rouhi

Metabolic syndrome can affect anyone of any weight.  Increases risk of heart disease. Diagnosis is based on accumulation of fat around the waist, blood pressure, levels of key lipids, and glucose levels.  Eating right and exercise are first line of defense.   Cost in 2003 was 6 million hospitalizations and 1 million deaths costing $350 billion.  It is estimated the 47 million US adults have it. 16% of kids are overweight.  Genetics is a factor.  It can be caused by a single mutation in mitochondrial DNA. Risk rises from 25% at 35 yrs old to 40% at 60.  18% of men and 22% of women of near normal weight have the syndrome.  Insulin resistance is central in the syndrome.  Glucose increases in the bloodstream, increasing advanced glycation end products (AGE).  These trap LDL particles in arterial walls, and are linked to cataracts and poor kidney function.

Do you have it?  Probably if you have 3 of these 5 parameters:

1. Waist circumference greater or equal to 40 inches in men, 35 in women

2. Triglycerides above 150 mg/dL

3. HDL less than or equal to 40mg/dL men; 50mg/dL women

4. Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 mm Hg

5. Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 110 mg/dL

Am J Clin Nutr MARCH 2005


Caffeine and arrhythmia1,2,3

Martijn B Katan and  Evert Schouten

“Many dietary supplements promise to improve physical and mental functioning, but caffeine, an age-old food component, is one of the few that delivers…Many ills have been ascribed to caffeine, but few have been substantiated…there is a consensus that caffeine does not promote ventricular arrhythmia…”


Cocoa, diabetes, and hypertension: should we eat more chocolate?1,2

Cesar G Fraga

With respect to cardiovascular health, one class of flavonoids, the flavanols, is receiving increasing attention (2). Cacao, tea, grapes, and grapefruit are examples of edible plants that are rich in flavanols… the consumption of dark chocolate improves glucose metabolism and decreases blood pressure…The polyphenol contents of the dark and white chocolate were assumed to be 500 and 0 mg, respectively …The authors found that the dark chocolate supplement was associated with improved insulin resistance and sensitivity and decreased systolic blood pressure, whereas white chocolate had no effect… Cocoa is rich in flavanols,… the regulation of nitric oxide (NO) production by the flavanols present in dark chocolate could explain its effects on both insulin sensitivity and blood pressure…”


Comparison of abdominal adiposity and overall obesity in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes among men1,2,3

Youfa Wang,  Eric B Rimm,  Meir J Stampfer,  Walter C Willett and  Frank B Hu

“Conclusions: Both overall and abdominal adiposity strongly and independently predict risk of type 2 diabetes. WC [waist circumference] is a better predictor than is WHR [waist to hip ratio]. The currently recommended cutoff for WC of 102 cm for men may need to be reevaluated; a lower cutoff may be more appropriate.”

Waist Circumference Quintile

Waist in cm






Age adjusted risk of diabetes







Genetic and environmental influences on eating behavior: the Swedish Young Male Twins Study1,2,3

Sanna Tholin,  Finn Rasmussen,  Per Tynelius and  Jan Karlsson

Objective: The aim of the present study was to disentangle genetic and environmental influences on eating behavior in a population-based cohort of male twins.

Design: The study included 326 dizygotic and 456 monozygotic male twin pairs aged 23–29 y from Sweden.

Results: … The best-fitted models gave a heritability of 59% for cognitive restraint, 60% for emotional eating, and 45% for uncontrolled eating. [In other words, about half of your eating behavior is controlled by heredity rather than what your environment teaches you.]

J Nutrition Mar, 2005

The Combination of High Fruit and Vegetable and Low Saturated Fat Intakes Is More Protective against Mortality in Aging Men than Is Either Alone: The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging; Katherine L. Tucker, Judith Hallfrisch, Ning Qiao, Denis Muller, Reubin Andres, and Jerome L. Fleg; J. Nutr. 2005 135: 556-561.

" Over a mean18 y of follow-up,.. Men consuming the combination of 5servings of FV/d and 12% energy from SF were 31% less likelyto die of any cause (P < 0.05), and 76% less likely to diefrom CHD (P < 0.001), relative to those consuming <5 FVand >12% SF. Men consuming either low SF or high FV, butnot both, did not have a significantly lower risk of total mortality;"


Consumption of Trans Fatty Acids Is Related to Plasma Biomarkers of Inflammation and Endothelial Dysfunction; Esther Lopez-Garcia et al ; J. Nutr. 2005 135: 562-566.

"CRP levels were 73% higher among those in the highest quintileof trans fat intake, compared with the lowest quintile… In conclusion, thisstudy suggests that higher intake of trans fatty acids couldadversely affect endothelial function, which might partiallyexplain why the positive relation between trans fat and cardiovascularrisk is greater than one would predict based solely on its adverseeffects on lipids."


Dietary Intake of Lycopene Is Associated with Reduced Pancreatic Cancer Risk; André Nkondjock et al ; J. Nutr. 2005 135: 592-597.

" lycopene,provided mainly by tomatoes, was associated with a 31% reductionin pancreatic cancer risk among … when comparingthe highest and lowest quartiles of intake. Both ß-…andtotal carotenoids … were associated with a significantly reduced riskamong those who never smoked."


Lignans Are Involved in the Antitumor Activity of Wheat Bran in Colon Cancer SW480 Cells; Hongyan Qu, Ronald L. Madl, Dolores J. Takemoto, Richard C. Baybutt, and Weiqun Wang; J. Nutr. 2005 135: 598-602

" These resultssuggest for the first time that lignans may contribute, at leastin part, to the cancer prevention by wheat bran observed inAPC-Min mice. Inhibition of cancer cell growth by lignan metabolitesseems to be mediated by cytostatic and apoptotic mechanisms."


Efficacy of a Foodlet-Based Multiple Micronutrient Supplement for Preventing Growth Faltering, Anemia, and Micronutrient Deficiency of Infants: The Four Country IRIS Trial Pooled Data Analysis; Cornelius M. Smuts et al ; J. Nutr. 2005 135: 631-638.

" Diets of infants across the world are commonly deficient inmultiple micronutrients during the period of growth falteringand dietary transition from milk to solid foods. A randomizedplacebo controlled trial was carried out in Indonesia, Peru,South Africa, and Vietnam,… A total of 1134 infantswere randomized to 4 treatment groups, with 283 receiving adaily placebo (P), 283 receiving a weekly multiple micronutrientsupplement (WMM), 280 received a daily multiple micronutrient(DMM) supplement, and 288 received daily iron (DI) supplements…. There wereno differences in height gain. DMM was also the most effectivetreatment for controlling anemia and iron deficiency, besidesimproving zinc, retinol, tocopherol, and riboflavin status."


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