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2021 Publication Archive

“Dietary Risk Factors for Cancer”

Oct 17, 2021

Before discussing which foods and dietary patterns may protect against cancer development, it is crucial to understand that engaging in activities that scientists consider significant cancer risk factors, such as cigarette smoking or excessive drinking, may counteract the potential protective effects of diet. Irrespective of diet, avoiding smoking, reducing alcohol intake, managing body weight, and being active, are critical to reducing cancer risk. Researchers have discovered that, just as some dietary patterns may increase cancer risk, nutritional choices can also have a protective effect against cancer. For example, the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, and low in red and processed meat and ultra-processed foods, has associations with an overall protective effect against cancer and cancer-related death. Studies have shown that diets high in fruits, vegetables, and other fiber-rich plant foods offer protection against cancer development.  Consuming a varied diet that provides optimal amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds is essential for overall health. In addition to consuming a diet rich in plant-based foods, reducing intake of processed and red meats, ultra-processed foods, and added sugars and salt may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and many other chronic conditions. Though many factors can influence a person’s risk of developing cancer, including factors that a person cannot control, research shows that some dietary patterns and
specific foods may increase the chance of developing certain cancers.

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“How Safe is Stevia”

Oct 10, 2021

The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has increased fivefold since the 1950s and is linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Artificial sweeteners may drive diabetes and obesity. A Nature study suggested artificial sweeteners – including saccharin, sucralose and aspartame – interfere with gut bacteria, increasing the activity of pathways associated with obesity and diabetes. Randomized controlled trials of artificially sweetened beverages have shown either no effect at all on weight loss, or only minor reductions. The main attraction of artificial sweeteners is that they can replace sugar. There is a huge amount of evidence suggesting high sugar consumption is bad for health. Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, metabolic diseases, and, and type 2 diabetes. As for weight loss, a 2018 meta-analysis study, which combined the results of 56 different studies, concluded that in most cases groups of people using artificial sweeteners did not lose more weight than those using sugar. On the whole, switching from sugar to sweeteners has a neutral to positive effect on weight loss. It is likely that the impact of sweetener on weight loss depends on the original weight and diet of the individual. Stevia is a kind of sweetener processed from leaves. It is described as a low-calorie substitute for sugar, and, because of its “natural” designation, many people consider it as a safer and healthier option than artificial sweeteners available in the market today.

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“Are Superfoods Real ?”

Oct 03, 2021

Presently, there is no set scientific definition for what counts as a superfood. Generally speaking, the term describes foods rich in nutrients and known to offer significant health benefits. Companies make millions on labeling products as superfoods — the global superfoods market size was estimated at $137 billion in 2018. Many health experts are wary of the term superfood. There is no set definition of the word and no regulations surrounding the use of the term on packaging labels. Because of this, there is no guarantee that a product with the superfood label offers any special health benefits or contains certain nutrients. Consumers may often think that products with superfood on their label are healthier than other products, which isn’t necessarily true. This could lead to consumers spending money on expensive products marketed as healthy, such as superfood powders, protein bars, and supplements, when they could be receiving more benefits at a lower price by purchasing whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. The European Union has even banned the use of this term on labels unless accompanied by explicit detailing of the product’s nutritional content. One expert said, “The term superfoods is at best, meaningless and at worst harmful. Not only is there no scientific definition of a superfood. Moreover, nominating some foods as nutritional talismans gives the impression that ordinary, affordable, and everyday foods are somehow deficient.”

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“Drugs That Flopped”

Sep 26, 2021

Drug companies withhold unfavorable data (negative studies) on profitable drugs and fail to file timely reports on safety and effectiveness, sometimes for years. Avandia, Celebrex, Zyprexia and Vioxx come to mind. They hire “investigators” and consultants to produce questionable favorable studies and have them published in journals to legitimize their exalted and mellifluous claims. About 350 people die daily from drug reactions or 128,000 per year. There appears to be an epidemic of harmful allowable FDA approved drugs, which have scarce benefits to any patients. Massive lobbying programs and political contributions perpetuate the corruption and abuse of patients. Pharmaceutical companies continuously emphasize how deeply society depends on their development of innovative products to improve health. But in fact, these companies are mostly developing drugs that are mostly little better than existing products but have the potential to cause widespread adverse reactions even when appropriately prescribed. Drug companies pour hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars into pharmaceutical development, hoping that one will bring in the big bucks and make the whole process worthwhile. Pharmaceutical companies pour fortunes into drug development but sometimes their products are still colossal failures. There are plenty of drugs that fail to live up to their initial promise.

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“Can Diet Affect Cancer Risks ?”

Sep 19, 2021

Many factors can contribute to the development of chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer. The link between diet and cancer risk is complicated. However, certain dietary patterns and food choices do have associations with an increased risk of cancer. In 2018, an estimated 18.1 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed globally, and 9.6 million died from the disease. One in 5 men and 1 in 6 women worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women will die from cancer. The increasing cancer burden is due to several factors, including population growth and aging. Eliminating or lowering exposure to known lifestyle and environmental risk factors could prevent from one‐third to two‐fifths of new cancer cases. Research shows that environmental causes, including dietary, can also affect cancer risk. In the early 1960s, researchers discovered that cancer rates varied between countries and identified that specific dietary patterns have correlations with certain types of cancer. They also discovered that cancer rates in people from countries with a low cancer risk who migrated to countries with higher cancer risk matched or exceeded the cancer rates in the country they migrated to. This suggests that diet and lifestyle strongly impacted cancer development. Since then, researchers have narrowed down the specific foods and dietary patterns that may increase the risk of certain cancers. It is important to remember that alcohol intake is also a known dietary risk factor for cancer development.

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“Four Powerful Supplements”

Sep 12, 2021

Thousands of supplements are readily available and tirelessly promoted. Some are effective and can bring health benefits, while others may be purely snake oil. But there are several little-known supplements whose health benefits rival those of currently available prescription drugs. Curcumin (Turmeric). Curcumin is a biologically active polyphenolic compound found in turmeric, which is a spice made from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa Linn, a perennial shrub indigenous to India. Curcumin has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and is most commonly cultivated and consumed in Asian countries. In several studies, curcumin has been shown to decrease pain when taken over the long term. Curcumin seems to have anti-cancer benefits due to its ability to initiate autophagy. It has also been shown to decrease risks for colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers. And, for those with cancer, curcumin may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy as well as protect healthy cells from radiation therapy. The recommended daily dose for curcumin is approximately 500 mg. Because it’s fat-soluble, curcumin should be taken with a meal or other source of fat (e.g., fish oil) to boost absorption.  Editor:  Please see the full article for the other three supplements.

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“Energy Boosters”

Sep 05, 2021

A good old cup of coffee is the go-to panacea for everyday low energy and fatigue. 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. Americans average 3.1 cups a day and the average size of a cup is 9 oz. Coffee’s caffeine jolt can temporarily boost alertness, perk up performance, and possibly even improve concentration. But caffeine is a drug, and as with any drug, there are right ways and wrong ways to use it. Caffeine can be worrisome for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Plus, caffeine can interact poorly with some common medications, and it can worsen insomnia, anxiety, and heartburn. There are several disorders in which fatigue is pronounced, and they typically trace their pathology back to mitochondrial dysfunction. Vitamin D deficiency—which is common worldwide—is a principal cause of such fatigue and myopathy. In 1976, the American Egg Board created the slogan “The Incredible, Edible Egg.” This slogan became a pre-Internet meme of sorts, garnering what we would now refer to as viral status. Somewhere along the line, people developed a disdain for eggs due to concerns about cholesterol. However, studies on dietary lipids and CVD incidence have shown that dietary cholesterol is not an independent risk factor for heart disease. Today, eggs remain both incredible and, well, edible. Eggs provide a nutrient-dense source of energy from protein and fat, approximately 75 kcal per large egg, as well as several B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12, and B6, which are required to produce energy by the body.

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“Genetically Modified Foods (GM Foods) Facts”

Aug 29, 2021

Despite their widespread use, consumers worldwide do not always have access to sufficient and accurate information about genetically modified foods (GM foods). Genetically modified foods have frequently given rise to controversy, which means that it can sometimes be difficult to tell fact from misconception. Genetically modified foods (GM foods), often called bioengineered foods or “transgenic foods,” continue to be a controversial topic of discussion. There is further skepticism surrounding their safety and environmental and health impacts. GM foods have undergone deliberate changes to their DNA (genetic material) to introduce traits that do not naturally occur in that food. Genes from one organism are placed into another organism using recombinant DNA technology. The final food product is called GM or bioengineered food. This genetic modification may be carried out to enhance the agricultural features of the crop or improve its nutritional value. GM foods are a subcategory of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which also include the genetic modification of microorganisms and animals. The practice of manipulating the genetic material of crops to yield desirable traits is not new, with records dating back 10,000 years ago in Southwest Asia. Traditionally, crossbreeding, grafting, and selective breeding methods were used to rear produce with specific traits and were deemed desirable for both agricultural success and consumer expectations.

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“Is There a Hangover Cure ?”

Aug 22, 2021

“Hair of the dog” won’t help a hangover, but certain plant extracts will, researchers have found. Researchers in Germany (Prost!) have reported in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health that a plant-based concoction of fruits, leaves, and roots may help to relieve symptoms of veisalgia (the medical term for a hangover).  They were given a supplement dissolved in sugar water. The mixture included specific plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds commonly believed to ease the physical and psychological symptoms associated with drinking alcohol. The plant extracts included Barbados cherry (also known as acerola), prickly pear, Ginkgo biloba, white willow, and ginger root. The vitamins and minerals included magnesium, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, and folic acid. The antioxidant compounds were steviol glycosides and inulin. The researchers gathered 214 healthy adults in a well-lit room and let them drink as much beer, wine, wine spritzer, or “radler” (a mix of beer and fizzy lemonade, popular in Germany) as they wanted over the course of 4 hours. Also, before the 4-hour “alcohol intake phase,” the researchers distributed 3 different premixed solutions to 3 groups of randomized participants. The first group received a mixture containing the plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. The second group was given a similar mixture of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but without plant extracts. The third group got only sugar water (placebo). Participants reported wide variations in the intensity of their symptoms.

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“Habits that Pack On Pounds”

Aug 08, 2021

An estimated 45 million Americans go on some sort of diet each year. The path to weight loss is rife with surprise twists and turns. Most weight-loss advice focuses on improving your diet and getting more exercise. These strategies are effective, but they’re also arguably difficult to turn into long-term habits. Here are some harmless health habits that might actually be causing you to pack on the pounds and push your health goals out of reach. Eating Off A Large Plate. For better portion control, use a smaller dish, experts say. Study participants with larger bowls ate 31% more ice cream on average than those with smaller bowls. Furthermore, participants with larger spoons served themselves 14.5% more ice cream than those with smaller spoons, regardless of bowl size. When selecting plates from the buffet line, patrons with an estimated higher body mass index (BMI) were more likely to select larger plates than patrons with estimated lower BMIs. Drinking Diet Soda. Soft drinks made with artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and saccharin, may help you feel like you’re dodging a sugary bullet, but these beloved beverages have health repercussions.

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