Monthly Archives: August 2013

Your healthy diet may lower your risk of pancreatic cancer

FoodFacts.com is always seeking new information that provides additional motivation for us all to stay committed to our healthy diet and lifestyle. Let’s face it, with so many processed foods and beverages surrounding us, as well as an enormous number of rather sedentary activity choices, we can all use a little extra inspiration from time to time! Today we read about a new study just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that gives us plenty of encouragement for staying with our personal commitment to live the healthiest lifestyle we can.

According to this new research from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, people who reported dietary intake that was the most consistent with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans had a lower risk of pancreatic cancer.

Previous studies investigating the relationship between food and nutrient intake and pancreatic cancer have yielded inconsistent results. The U.S. Government issues evidence-based dietary guidelines that provide the basis for federal nutrition policy and education activities to promote overall health for Americans. The authors evaluated how closely study participants’ diets matched the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2005), and then compared their risk of pancreatic cancer.

Researchers calculated HEI-2005 scores for 537,218 participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (ages 50-71 years), based on responses to food frequency questionnaires. Pancreatic cancer risk was then compared between those with high and low HEI-2005 scores, accounting for the influence of other known pancreatic cancer risk factors.

Among the study participants there were 2,383 new cases of pancreatic cancer. Overall, the investigators observed a 15% lower risk of pancreatic cancer among participants with the highest HEI-2005 score compared to those with the lowest HEI-2005 score. This association was stronger among overweight or obese men compared to men of normal weight, but there was no difference for normal vs. overweight or obese women. While the authors adjusted for known risk factors such as smoking and diabetes status, they caution that other health factors not collected in the questionnaires may be associated with a more healthful diet and might explain some of the observed reduced risk. They also noted that diet is difficult to measure and the HEI-2005 was not designed specifically for the purpose of overall cancer prevention.

Researchers noted that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are issued to promote overall health, including the maintenance of a healthy weight and disease prevention. Study findings support the hypothesis that a high-quality diet may also play a role in reducing pancreatic cancer risk. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings.

FoodFacts.com thinks that all of us who are committed to nutritional awareness and healthy habits should celebrate these findings, and others, that bring to light new benefits arising from our diligence. We encourage everyone in our community to spread the good news about the health benefits we can all repeat from that commitment!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815172335.htm

Broccoli may help in the prevention of osteoarthritis

FoodFacts.com is aware that arthritis is a debilitating condition that affects millions worldwide. The most common form, osteoarthritis is associated with the destruction of cartilage in the joints. It’s quite painful for those who are afflicted and is normally associated with age and obesity.

Today we read that new research findings have linked a compound found in broccoli to the prevention and/or slowing of this agonizing condition.
Coming out of the University of East Anglia, in the United Kingdom, results from the laboratory study show that sulforaphane slows down the destruction of joint cartilage in osteoarthritis. The researchers found that mice fed a diet rich in the compound had significantly less cartilage damage and osteoarthritis than those that were not.

Sulforaphane is released when eating cruciferous vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and cabbage, but particularly broccoli. Previous research has suggested that sulforaphane has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, but this is the first major study into its effects on joint health.

The researchers discovered that sulforaphane blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation. They wanted to find out if the compound got into joints in sufficient amounts to be effective and their findings are published today in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

There is currently no cure or effective treatment for the disease other than pain relief, which is often inadequate, or joint replacement.

The study involved researchers from UEA’s schools of Biological Sciences, Pharmacy and Norwich Medical School, along with the University of Oxford and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Researchers from the School of Biological Sciences and Norwich Medical School are now embarking on a small scale trial in osteoarthritis patients due to have knee replacement surgery, to see if eating broccoli has similar effects on the human joint. If successful, they hope it will lead to funding for a large scale clinical trial to show the effect of broccoli on osteoarthritis, joint function and pain itself.

Ian Clark, professor of musculoskeletal biology at UEA and the lead researcher, said: “The results from this study are very promising. We have shown that this works in the three laboratory models we have tried, in cartilage cells, tissue and mice. We now want to show this works in humans. As well as treating those who already have the condition, you need to be able to tell healthy people how to protect their joints into the future. There is currently no way in to the disease pharmaceutically and you cannot give healthy people drugs unnecessarily, so this is where diet could be a safe alternative.”

FoodFacts.com is fascinated by the idea that eating more broccoli could have such a direct effect on osteoarthritis. Healthy diet as preventative medicine is always an exciting concept. Gaining more understanding about how compounds in natural, whole foods interact with our bodies to prevent serious diseases and debilitating conditions is the best direction in which science can move.

Read more about this fascinating study: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204039.htm

A great new reason for women to make sure they get their five a day

FoodFacts.com is always talking about the health benefits of a balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables. There are so many nutrients derived from the colorful varieties we’re lucky enough to be able to choose from! We know that getting our five servings a day of fruits and vegetables helps to reduce our risk of heart attack and stroke, in addition to diabetes, obesity, and even some types of cancer. Today we read about a new study that points to a lowered risk of bladder cancer for women who increase their fruit and vegetable consumption!

Researchers from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center reported on this new study in The Journal of Nutrition. The authors explained that fruits and vegetables have been extensively studied for their possible effects on the risk of cancer, including bladder cancer. Fruits and vegetables contain several nutrients, phytochemicals, as well as antioxidants which potentially protect from cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute2, there are approximately 72,570 new cancer bladder cases and 15,210 deaths caused by bladder cancer annually in the United States.

Song-Yi Park, PhD., and colleagues set out to determine what effect high fruit and vegetable intake might have on invasive bladder cancer risk. The team carried out a prospective analysis involving 185,885 older adults who participated in the Multiethnic Cohort Study. The study was set up in 1993 to examine the relationship between dietary, lifestyle, genetic factors, and the risk of cancer.

The researchers gathered and analyzed data over a 12.5-year period. During that time 152 females and 429 males developed invasive bladder cancer.

After making adjustments for some variables which influence cancer risk, such as age, the scientists discovered that those with the lowest bladder cancer risk were women who ate the most fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Park and team found that:

• Women with the highest yellow-orange vegetable intake had a 52% lower risk of developing invasive bladder cancer compared to women with the lowest consumption.
• Women with the highest consumption of vitamins A, C, and E were the least likely to develop bladder cancer.
• Fruit and vegetable consumption appeared to have no effect on male bladder cancer risk.

FoodFacts.com certainly stands behind the idea that five servings of fruits and vegetables every day is a good idea for everyone. This new information, however, gives all women yet another reason to be vigilant about their fruit and vegetable consumption. Keeping your fruit and veggie choices interesting and colorful makes it easy to include them in your daily diet. And your optimal daily diet will help you enjoy good health for years to come!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265231.php

Eating too much red meat may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

FoodFacts.com has devoted more than a few blog posts to new information regarding how our dietary choices may affect our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking condition affecting millions around the world, and new research has lead to a better understanding of how the disease develops. While science isn’t close to curing this heartbreaking condition, we are hopeful that the growing body of research is advancing the cause of a cure. Today we read new information we wanted to share with our community.

Eating too much red meat, which raises brain levels of iron, may heighten the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, researchers from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

As background information, the authors explained that iron can accelerate the damaging reactions of free radicals. Over time, iron builds up in brain gray matter regions and appears to contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related illnesses.

Alzheimer’s disease has been an exceptionally challenging enemy to defeat. Its number 1 risk factor is aging – something none of us can prevent.

Most scientists and specialists agree that Alzheimer’s is caused by one of two proteins: Tau and Beta-amyloid.

As we get older, these two proteins either disrupt signaling between neurons or kill them off.  Team leader, Dr. George Bartzokis and colleagues believe there is a third likely cause of Alzheimer’s – iron accumulation.

Professor Bartzokis and team compared the hippocampus and the thalamus using sophisticated brain-imaging high- and low-field strength MRI instruments. The hippocampus is a brain region that is damaged early on in Alzheimer’s, while the thalamus is only affected during the late stages. The MRI scans showed that iron builds up over time in the hippocampus but not the thalamus. They also saw an association between iron accumulation levels in the hippocampus and tissue damage in that area.

Most scientists concentrate on the accumulation of beta-amyloid or tau that cause the hallmark plaques associated with Alzheimer’s, Bartzokis explained. For a long time, Bartzokis had been saying that the breakdown starts off much further “upstream”.

Communication between neurons is disrupted when myelin, a fatty tissue that coats nerve fibers, is destroyed, promoting the accumulation of plaques. These amyloid plaques then destroy more myelin – a self-perpetuating cascade of destruction. The more the signaling is disrupted, the more the nerve cells die, and the classic signs of Alzheimer’s appear.

“Circumstantial evidence has long supported the possibility that brain iron levels might be a risk factor for age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s,” says Bartzokis.

Iron is vital for cell function. However, too much of it encourages oxidative damage, something to which the brain is particularly susceptible. Bartzokis and team set out to determine whether high tissue iron might cause the tissue breakdown associated with Alzheimer’s. They focused on the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is involved in the formation of memories. They compared the hippocampus to the thalamus, which is relatively unaffected until the very late stages of the disease.

Their MRI technique was able to measure how much brain iron there was in a protein that stores iron – ferritin. The study included 31 Alzheimer’s patients and 68 healthy individuals of the same age.

Measuring iron in the brain is not easy if the patient has Alzheimer’s, because the amount of water in the brain increases as the disease progresses. The more water there is in the brain, the harder it is to detect iron, Bartzokis explained. Bartzokis said “It is difficult to measure iron in tissue when the tissue is already damaged. But the MRI technology we used in this study allowed us to determine that the increase in iron is occurring together with the tissue damage. We found that the amount of iron is increased in the hippocampus and is associated with tissue damage in patients with Alzheimer’s but not in the healthy older individuals – or in the thalamus. So the results suggest that iron accumulation may indeed contribute to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.” Because the consumption of red meat raises brain levels of iron, the researchers note that too much red meat may, in fact, raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community is aware that our healthiest dietary choices equate to a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein. We know that conscious eating habits can help us avoid a whole host of health problems, regardless of age. It’s certainly worth noting our consumption of red meat for many reasons. This latest information points to the idea that there can always be “too much of a good thing” – even if you are choosing the leanest cuts of red meat available. Choosing a variety of lean protein sources is an important part of our approach to healthy eating. Awareness and balance are always significant components of our conscious dietary choices to achieve and maintain good health as we age.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265216.php

New report shows U.S. obesity leveling off at an extremely high level

FoodFacts.com follows new information regarding the obesity crisis as closely as possible. We’re all aware of the problems that stem from U.S. obesity levels. The health of our population has suffered greatly, with increasing rates of heart disease and diabetes, just to name a few of the debilitating effects of this growing problem. Today we read new information we wanted to share with our community.

Obesity levels among adults appear to be holding steady across the United States, adding to recent evidence that the growth rate for U.S. waistlines is slowing, according to an analysis released on Friday. But within the holding pattern there is a dramatic rise in “extreme” obesity among adults and children.

The annual “F as in Fat” report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the proportion of adults who are extremely obese – at least 100 pounds (45.4 kilograms) overweight – has climbed over the last three decades from 1.4 percent in the late 1970s to 6.3 percent in 2009-2010.

That is about a 350 percent increase, researchers for the health nonprofit groups said. About 5 percent of children and teenagers are also now severely obese, they added. Rates of extreme obesity were nearly twice as high for women as for men, and were also particularly high for Hispanic boys and black girls.

“As long as we continue to see those increases in extreme obesity, I think we need to be worried,” Trust for America’s Health Executive Director Jeffrey Levi told Reuters.
Overall, the report found obesity rates stabilizing across the United States, though at historically high levels with nearly 36 percent of U.S. adults obese as of 2010. Only one state, Arkansas, had an increase in obesity levels.

“After decades of bad news, we’re finally seeing signs of progress,” researchers for the two health groups wrote in Friday’s report that said government efforts to encourage healthier diets and more exercise were paying off.

“I’m delighted but not surprised,” said Kelly Brownell, dean of Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. “The collective effect is having an impact and turning things around … We’ve managed the plateau, we may remain there. We will have to do more to achieve a downturn.”

The analysis, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, underscored America’s continuing battle with weight.

Rates for those ages 45 to 64, the bulk of the so-called Baby Boomer generation, were a concern as their obesity rates were 30 percent or higher in 41 states. In Alabama and Louisiana, their rate reached 40 percent.

Increasingly heavy men also narrowed the obesity gender gap. “Ten years ago, the obesity rate for women was significantly higher than the rate for men,” 33.4 percent compared to 27.5 percent, researchers wrote. Now, their “rates are essentially the same” at nearly 36 percent, they said.

Health experts agreed with the report’s conclusion that various government programs making school lunches healthier, mandating calorie counts on menus, discouraging soda consumption, integrating physical activity into the daily life and other weight-conscious changes were adding up to widespread behavior changes.

The report recommended strengthening such programs. It said food and beverage companies should market only their healthiest products to children, the nation’s transportation plans should encourage walking and biking, and everyone should be able to buy healthy, affordable foods close to home.

While FoodFacts.com is encouraged that programs targeting the obesity crisis are beginning to show progress, we are still in the midst of that crisis. In addition to strengthening existing programs, we’ll all need to continue to spread the message of nutritional awareness throughout our own networks. Processed foods and beverages are unnecessary additions to American diets. Our best defense against obesity is our own ability to make healthy dietary choices.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/16/us-usa-obesity-idUSBRE97F0QI20130816

Healthy eating habits are especially important during pregnancy

FoodFacts.com devotes many blog posts to the importance of healthy eating habits. While there are many contributors to the worldwide obesity crisis, we do know with certainty that the prevalence of processed foods and beverages in our diets stands out as one of the significant causes of the current, continually growing problem of obesity. Particularly disturbing among children, rates of obesity keep climbing as healthy dietary habits continue to devolve around the globe. So we continually reiterate the importance of avoiding processed foods and beverages and emphasize the significant health benefits of fresh, whole foods prepared at home.

Today we read about a new study that underscores the importance of healthy eating habits during pregnancy, and the effects of the diets of expectant mothers on the next generation. Researchers have found that mothers who eat junk food while pregnant are more likely to have children with mental health problems.

Researchers from Deakin University in Australia, alongside researchers from Norway, analyzed more than 23,000 mothers who were a part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, gathered information regarding the mothers’ diets throughout pregnancy and their children’s diets at both 18 months and 3 years of age.

The mothers were also asked to complete questionnaires when their children were 18 months, 3-years and 5-years-old to establish symptoms of depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and ADHD. The researchers then analyzed the relationship between the mothers’ and children’s diets, and the mental health symptoms and behaviors in the children aged 18 months to five-years-old.

Results of the study reveal that mothers who eat more unhealthy foods during pregnancy, such as sweet drinks, refined cereals and salty foods, have children with increased behavioral problems, such as aggression and tantrums.

Additionally, the findings show that children who eat more unhealthy foods in their first years of life, or who lack nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, also show increased aggression and behavioral problems, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Associate professor Felice Jacka, researcher at the IMPACT Strategic Research Center at Deakin University, says: “It is becoming even more clear that diet matters to mental health right across the age spectrum.”

“These new findings suggest that unhealthy and ‘junk’ foods may have an impact on the risk for mental health problems in children, and they add to the growing body of evidence on the impact of unhealthy diets on the risk for depression, anxiety and even dementia. The changes to our food systems, including the shift to more high-energy, low nutrition foods developed and marketed by the processed food industry, have led to a massive increase in obesity-related illnesses right across the globe,” she says.

While there is no need for mothers to go on special diets during pregnancy, it is important to eat a variety of different foods every day to make sure that both mother and child are getting the right balance of nutrients.

Other studies have also suggested potential health risks of eating junk food while pregnant. Animal research from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2006 suggested a link between unhealthy food during pregnancy and the risk of obesity in offspring.

FoodFacts.com thinks it’s important to note that just as there has been an upswing in childhood obesity rates, there has also been an upswing in childhood depression and behavioral difficulties. While there’s been no definitive link between diet and childhood mental health, it is interesting that both obesity and depression/behavior challenges have risen at the same time that the proliferation of processed foods and beverages in our food supply is higher than it’s ever been. Certainly food for thought. While we want everyone to make the healthiest dietary choices, we want to make sure that expectant mothers everywhere take especially good care of themselves, for both their own well-being and the well-being of their precious children.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265039.php

Flavonoids in celery and artichoke can kill human pancreatic cancer cells

FoodFacts.com wants to ask everyone in our community to think about how many ways they can include celery and artichokes in their recipes. We can think of more than a few. Celery can add great crunch and texture to a variety of salads, adds flavor to soups and stews, and can even be spread with peanut butter for a wholesome treat. Artichokes aren’t simply a great side dish, they work well in recipes for chicken and fish, can be incorporated into pasta, and can even add a mild, interesting flavor to dips and spreads. We’re sure you can all think of more – and after the research we learned of today, we all should!

Celery, artichokes, and herbs, especially Mexican oregano, all contain apigenin and luteolin, flavonoids that kill human pancreatic cancer cells in the lab by inhibiting an important enzyme, according to two new University of Illinois studies.

“Apigenin alone induced cell death in two aggressive human pancreatic cancer cell lines. But we received the best results when we pre-treated cancer cells with apigenin for 24 hours, then applied the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine for 36 hours,” said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I professor of food chemistry and food toxicology.

Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive cancer, and there are few early symptoms, meaning that the disease is often not found before it has spread. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with a five-year survival rate of only 6 percent, she said.

The scientists found that apigenin inhibited an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), which led to a decrease in the production of anti-apoptotic genes in the pancreatic cancer cells. Apoptosis means that the cancer cell self-destructs because its DNA has been damaged.

In one of the cancer cell lines, the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis went from 8.4 percent in cells that had not been treated with the flavonoid to 43.8 percent in cells that had been treated. In this case, no chemotherapy drug had been added.

Pancreatic cancer patients would probably not be able to eat enough flavonoid-rich foods to raise blood plasma levels of the flavonoid to an effective level. But scientists could design drugs that would achieve those concentrations, de Mejia said.

And prevention of this frightening disease is another story. “If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables throughout your life, you’ll have chronic exposure to these bioactive flavonoids, which would certainly help to reduce the risk of cancer,” she noted.

FoodFacts.com is so pleased by the idea that flavonoids found in natural food sources may help scientists design effective treatments for pancreatic cancer. We’re also very pleased with the concept that eating vegetables that contain them throughout our lives will help reduce our risk for cancer. So let’s all be aware of exactly what it can mean to our health and well-being to consciously include more celery, artichokes, and herbs in our diets!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815172358.htm

Yet another reason children and soda don’t mix

Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community is very familiar with our view of soda. We don’t like it. There are quite a few different reasons and we can name some of them readily – high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid, artificial colors, artificial flavors, aspartame, acesulfame potassium and those really are just a few. Trust us, we could go on and on. Sodas offer no nutritional value and a myriad of possible problems. And today we read a new study that has just added a new possible problem to an already long list.

It appears that soda may cause young children to become aggressive and develop attention problems, according to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the University of Vermont and Harvard School of Public Health, studied around 3,000 children aged 5.

All children were enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study – a cohort study that follows mothers and children from 20 large cities in the US.

The researchers asked the mothers of the children to report their child’s soft drink consumption. Their child’s behavior in the 2 months prior to the study was reported through a “Child Behavior Checklist.”

Just over 40% of the children consumed a minimum of one serving of soft drinks a day, while 4% consumed four or more soft drinks a day.

The study results found that any level of soft drink consumption was linked to higher levels of aggressive behavior, as well as more attention and withdrawal problems.

Compared with children who did not consume any soft drinks, those who had four or more soft drinks a day were over twice as likely to:

• Destroy other people’s belongings
• Physically attack others, and
• Get into fights.

Dr. Shakira Suglia, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, says: “We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day.”

The study authors say there has been a lot of research on the effects of soft drinks in adults. But the relationship between soft drinks and child behavior has not been closely evaluated until now.

They note that although their study has been unable to identify exactly why soft drinks can cause these behaviors in children, they recommend that limiting or abolishing a child’s soft drink consumption could combat this issue.

FoodFacts.com looks forward to more detailed studies that focus on a possible causal relationship between children’s soda consumption and aggressive behavior. Drinking soda has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. It is considered a major contributor in the obesity crisis. And it adds nothing to our health and well-being. Those statements alone are good enough reasons to keep sodas away from our children. This study certainly points out additional problems with small children and soda consumption. Children require a healthy beginning in order to encourage healthy habits throughout their lifetime. Let’s help them get the healthy start they all deserve.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264943.php

There may not be a “safe” level of sugar

FoodFacts.com has always been very concerned about added sugar in the American diet. We know that unless we do our best to avoid processed foods and sugary beverages, our diets will continue to contain far too much sugar. The majority of the sugar found in our diets isn’t coming from the sugar bowls on our tables; it’s coming from the food and beverage products we’re purchasing at our grocery stores and fast food restaurants. The unreasonable amount of sugar consumed in the U.S. has contributed to the obesity crisis as well as the sharp rise in diabetes and heart disease. Today we found more information about sugar consumption that we should all be aware of.

Consuming the equivalent of three cans of soda on a daily basis, or a 25% increased added-sugar intake, may decrease lifespan and reduce the rate of reproduction, according to a study of mice published in the journal Nature Communications.

Researchers from the University of Utah conducted a toxicity experiment on 156 mice, of which 58 were male and 98 were female.

The experiment involved placing them in room-sized pens called “mouse barns” with a number of nest boxes. The researchers say this allowed the mice to move around naturally to find mates and explore the territories they wished.

The mice were fed a diet of a nutritious wheat-corn-soybean mix with vitamins and minerals. But one group of mice had 25% more sugar mixed with their food – half fructose and half glucose. Mice in a control group were fed corn starch in place of the added sugars. The National Research Council recommends that people should have no more than 25% of their daily calories from foods and beverages with added sugar.

This study in mice suggests that consuming the equivalent of three extra sodas a day could decrease your length of life. This is the equivalent of consuming three cans of sweetened soda a day alongside a healthy, no-added-sugar diet.

Results of this most recent research showed that after 32 weeks in the mouse barns, 35% of the female mice who were fed the added-sugar foods died, compared with 17% of female
The research also showed that male mice on the sugar diet produced 25% fewer offspring compared with the male mice in the control group.

However, the results reported no difference between the mice fed the healthy diet and those fed the added-sugar diet when looking at obesity, fasting insulin levels, fasting glucose levels and fasting triglyceride levels.

The study authors say of the findings:

“Our results provide evidence that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic adverse impacts on mammalian health. This demonstrates the adverse effects of added sugars at human-relevant levels.”

The researchers add that the strength of this study is built on how the mice were tested in a natural environment they are accustomed to, providing more accurate results.

Wayne Potts, professor of biology at the University of Utah and the study’s senior author, says:

“Mice happen to be an excellent mammal to model human dietary issues because they have been living on the same diet as we have ever since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago.”

FoodFacts.com finds this information especially important specifically because our population consumes so much processed food and beverages. It would be quite difficult for any consumer to keep conscious track of the amount of added sugars in their daily diet and would require notation of every product they consume – from their morning coffee or mocha or latte, instant flavored oatmeal for breakfast, granola bar snack, canned soup at lunch to the rice mix they’re preparing as a side dish for dinner. You get the idea. It’s not enough to be aware that processed foods contain added sugar. It’s important to avoid added sugar. And the best way to avoid added sugar is to prepare our own foods at home in our own kitchens. When we do, we can be confident of the amount of sugar in our diets, and avoid the serious health issues that can arise from the “sugar culture” we’re surrounded by in our grocery stores and fast food establishments.

Read more here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264788.php

Protective benefits of eating raw garlic

FoodFacts.com is always encouraged to read new information regarding the health benefits of different natural foods. We look forward to the day that Hippocrates words, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” are even more meaningful, as continuing scientific research continues to discover how natural foods work to protect us from chronic conditions and diseases that were previously only treatable through synthetic medications that often have undesirable side effects. Today we read about new research that serves that exact purpose.

Eating raw garlic twice a week could potentially halve the risk of developing lung cancer, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

Researchers from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China carried out a population-based case control study between 2003 and 2010, to analyze the link between raw garlic consumption and lung cancer.

The researchers collected data from 1,424 lung cancer patients, alongside 4,543 healthy controls.

Data was compiled through face-to-face interviews with the participants, who were asked to answer a standard questionnaire disclosing information on diet and lifestyle habits, including how often they ate garlic and whether they smoked.

Results of the study showed that participants who consumed raw garlic on a regular basis as a part of their diet (two or more times a week), had a 44% decreased risk of developing lung cancer.

The study authors say:
“Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemo-preventive agent for lung cancer.”

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 205,974 Americans were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009.

Long-term smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, found to account for 9 out of every 10 cases of the disease.

Interestingly, when looking specifically at participants who smoked, researchers found that eating raw garlic still decreased their risk of lung cancer by around 30%.

The researchers say that the link between garlic and lung cancer prevention warrant further in-depth investigation. Previous research has also shown that consumption of garlic may have preventive properties against certain forms of cancer. A study from the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center suggested that a compound found in garlic, selenium, may possess an anti-cancer property Other research from the Medical University of South Carolina, found that organosulfur compounds found in garlic may play a part in killing brain cancer cells.

The widely used herb has also been cited as preventing and treating other ailments, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

FoodFacts.com takes special note of the idea that garlic packs a lot of health power into those little cloves. High blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and now anti-cancer properties all make garlic an herb we want to make a real effort to include more of in our diet. Pungent, flavorful and versatile, garlic can be a great addition to a myriad of different dishes and can be added raw to your own dressings and salads. Healthy herbs add a wealth of benefits to our healthy lifestyles!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264599.php