Category Archives: cancers

Are there mold toxins in your oatmeal?

main-jpgIt’s been a cold few months throughout the United States. When our days start with freezing temperatures and we’re experiencing almost weekly snowfalls, FoodFacts.com knows that many of us are turning to a nice bowl of hot oatmeal to warm us up before we go out into the elements. And why not? It’s a very healthy choice. But there may be something impeding the health benefits of our favorite winter breakfast.

Oats are an excellent source of manganese, copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, dietary fiber, chromium, zinc, and protein. Oats are known for their antioxidant compounds help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ochratoxin A (OTA) has been found in all major cereal grains including oat, wheat, and barley worldwide and considered as a potential concern in food safety.

Dojin Ryu and Hyun Jung Lee, School of Food Science, University of Idaho, note that OTA is one of the most common toxic products released by molds in the world.

OTA has been found in a very wide range of raw and processed food commodities. It was first reported in cereals, but has since been found in other products, including coffee, dried fruits, wine, beer, cocoa, nuts, beans, peas, bread and rice. It has also been detected in meat, especially pork and poultry, following transfer from contaminated feed.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified OTA as a possible human carcinogen (group 2B). OTA is a potent toxic agent and causes both acute and chronic effects in the kidneys of all mammalian species tested. The sensitivity of different species varies, but a level of 200 μg/kg in feed over three months is sufficient to cause acute damage to the kidneys of pigs and rats.

The USA does not regulate the contaminant; the European Union has set maximum limits for OTA in food. Ryu and Lee wanted to see how US breakfast cereals; a staple in many Americans’ diets, measured up to that standard.

The researchers collected a total of 489 samples of corn, rice, wheat, and oat-based breakfast cereal from US retail marketplaces over a two year period. Researchers used a high-performance liquid chromatography ( a technique used to separate the components in a mixture, to identify each component, and to quantify each component) to determine the levels of OTA.

Overall, 205 samples 42 percent were contaminated with OTA in the range from 0.10 to 9.30 ng/g. The levels OTA were mostly below of the European Commission Regulation (3 ng/g) except in 16 samples of oat-based cereals.

The highest level of OTA was highest in oat-based breakfast cereals (70 percent, 142/203), followed by wheat-based (32 percent, 38/117), corn-based (15 percent, 15/103), and rice-based breakfast cereals (15 percent, 10/66).

“On the basis of the incidence and concentration of OTA, oats and oat-based products may need greater attention in further surveillance programs and development of intervention strategies to reduce health risks in consumers,” the researchers wrote.

The authors acknowledge funding from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Lakshmi Gompa was a graduate student working in the laboratory of Dr. Andreia Bianchin, University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2013. In a study that year, she examined OTA in commodities such as, roasted coffee, cocoa and meat in the US Market.

Among different samples analyzed 35 percent of cocoa samples and three percent of meat samples were contaminated with OTA. Decaffeinated coffee samples showed the highest level at 16.7 percent. OTA levels in dried raisins and dates had high levels at 100 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

We’ll stay on top of this one. This new problem with our food supply does seem to be affecting many different products that we normally include in our diets, with oats and oat-based products being the newest to be affected. Oatmeal is a healthy, hot breakfast, but there are other grain choices we can turn to. While we’re waiting on more information, we can look for spelt, kamut and wheat based hot cereals. There are organic brands featuring other grains that will keep us just as warm and ready for the cold.

http://www.allvoices.com/article/100003574

Attention cola fans: caramel color may put you at risk for cancer

GETTY_12414_SodaFoodFacts.com has had a lot to say about caramel color over the years. The artificial color is quite high on our avoid list for several important reasons. Caramel color can decrease the body’s immune response. People with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease can experience an allergic reaction to caramel color. It can raise blood pressure. And it has been linked to cancer. There are four types of caramel color and two of the most common types have been proven especially harmful. The problem is that consumers can’t identify the type of caramel color used in any product because manufacturers aren’t required to identify it on ingredient lists. While caramel color is used in thousands of products, sodas are the most common place you’ll find the ingredient.

Thousands of Americans drink soda every day and these individuals do not just increase their sugar intake and their odds of packing unnecessary weight. They also put themselves at risk of developing cancer.

The ingredients of colas and other soft drinks typically include a caramel coloring, which gives these beverages their distinct caramel color.

Unfortunately, some types of this food coloring contain a chemical known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI), a potential carcinogen.

Now, an analysis published in the journal PLOS ONE on Feb. 18 has revealed that more than half of Americans between 6 and 64 years old sip amounts of soft drinks per day that could expose them to amounts of 4-MeI that could raise their risks of developing cancer.

Keeve Nachman, from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and colleagues looked at a previous study conducted by researchers from the Consumer Reports that analyzed the concentration of 4-Mel in 12 brands of sodas and soft drink. They also analyzed the soft drinks consumption in the U.S. using data from the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) to estimate the potential cancer risks of soft drinks consumption.

The researchers found that the average soda consumption in the U.S. ranges from a little over 12-ounces(1 can) to almost two and a half cans of soda per day with the biggest consumers being those between 16 and 44 years old. Children between 3 to 5 years old were likewise found to drink soft drinks on a typical day averaging about two thirds of a can.

The researchers said that at the rate at which Americans consume soda, they expect the emergence of between 76 to 5,000 cancer cases in the U.S. over the next seven decades that can be attributed to exposure to 4-MeI alone.
“It appears that 4-MeI exposures associated with average rates of soft drink consumption pose excess cancer risks exceeding one case per 1,000,000 exposed individuals, which is a common acceptable risk goal used by some U.S. federal regulatory agencies,” the researchers wrote.

Nachman said that soft drink consumers get exposed to unwanted and avoidable cancer risks from an ingredient that is added to beverages and other foods for aesthetic purposes and this raises concerns on the continued use of caramel coloring in sodas. The Food and Drug Administration said that it will take a closer look at the use of this artificial coloring in a variety of foods.

Soda is unnecessary in any diet. Skipping the sugar and calories in sugared sodas and the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas, the ingredient lists are laden with chemicals. Caramel color is one of the most popular chemicals in those ingredient lists. Watch for it — not only in sodas, but in a variety of other foods and beverages as well.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/34580/20150222/caramel-color-in-cola-may-give-you-cancer-time-to-ditch-it.htm

Coffee may help you avoid skin cancer

Coffee cup - cup of coffee 2 with clipping pathIf you’re one of the millions of people who just can’t get their morning started without a great cup of coffee, this blog post may be especially meaningful for you!

New research is beginning to show us that there might be many benefits to drinking this favorite bean-based hot beverage. Aside from a morning pick-me-up, according to new research from Yale University and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), drinking coffee everyday could reduce your for malignant melanoma skin cancer.

More than 5 million people in the United States are affected by skin cancer each and every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, claims approximately one life every hour. However, despite being the most rare form of skin cancer, melanoma accounts for the majority of skin cancer related deaths. Eighty-six percent of melanoma skin cancer can be attributed directly to exposure from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

But, if you are a coffee drinker, your chances of developing a malignant melanoma are reduced, according to lead researcher Erikka Loftfield. Loftfield and her team evaluated over 400,000 study participants over an average of 10.5 years, comparing the rates of melanoma to the frequency of foods. At the end of the study, the team of researchers determined that the more caffeinated coffee an individual drank each day, the lower their risk for developing malignant melanoma. For example, drinking four cups of coffee each day was enough to lower the risk by an incredible 20 percent.

“Higher coffee intake was associated with a modest decrease in risk of melanoma in this large US cohort study,” Loftfield says. “Additional investigations of coffee intake and its constituents, particularly caffeine, with melanoma are warranted…Because of its melanoma’s) high disease burden, lifestyle modifications with even modest protective effects may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity.”

Loftfield emphasized that while there is a benefit to drinking coffee in regards to malignant melanoma, it should not be used as an excuse to go out in the sun without the proper protection.

“The most important thing that individuals can do to reduce their risk of melanoma is to reduce sun and UV radiation exposure,” Loftfield says.

Scientists continue to find more and more evidence that coffee may not be an unhealthy as originally believed. There is also substantial data available showing that coffee can reduce the risk of dying from scarring of the liver, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer, and reduce the risk of tinnitus.

However, because of the adverse reactions some people have to the stimulant, it is important that you discuss with your doctor the benefits and the drawbacks of adding coffee to your daily routine before you make your next stop at the local coffee shop.

FoodFacts.com loves getting good news like this! Your morning coffee may be doing more for you than kickstarting your day. The list of possible health benefits from coffee continues to grow … which may just give some of us a good reason to grab just one more cup!

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/2880/20150125/your-cup-of-joe-could-prevent-skin-cancer.htm

Rates of obesity-related cancers rising … and it’s mostly in developed countries

picCanmexIn case anyone was wondering if the obesity crisis has been contained or is showing any signs of reversing course, the unfortunate fact is that from all available information, the world is still suffering. This reversible and tragic situation is still continuing at an alarming rate. In addition to actual obesity statistics, news surrounding the crisis points squarely to the concept that millions of people across the globe continue to gain far too much weight to be able to maintain health.

Being overweight or obese have become major risk factors for developing cancer, particularly among women and in more developed countries, the specialized cancer agency of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

Overweight and obesity are responsible for an estimated 481,000 or 3.6 per cent of all new cancer cases in 2012, and reducing such health issues at the population level could have significant health benefits, according to a new study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The study, which was published in The Lancet Oncology today, also shows that one quarter of all cancers attributable to overweight and obesity worldwide 118,00 cases could have been prevented if populations had simply maintained their average body-mass index of 30 years ago.

The number of cancers linked to obesity and overweight is expected to rise globally along with economic development, Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, said in a press release.

This study stresses the importance of putting in place efficient weight control measures, to curb the high number of cancers associated with excess body weight and to avoid the problems faced by rich countries being repeated in those now undergoing rapid development, he added.

Cancer due to overweight and obesity is currently far more common in more developed countries which reported 393,000 cases, or 5.2 per cent of all new cancer cases than in less developed countries which reported 88,000 cases, or 1.5 per cent of all new cancer cases.
North America remains the most affected, with an estimated 111,000 obesity-related cancers in 2012, accounting for 23 per cent of the total global cancer burden linked to high body-mass index, the agency said.

In Europe, the proportion of cancers due to overweight and obesity is also large, particularly in eastern Europe which reported 65,000 cases, or 6.5 per cent of all new cancer cases in the region, according to the study.

Overall, the countries with the highest cancer burden attributable to overweight and obesity in men are the Czech Republic (5.5 per cent of the countrys new cancer cases); Jordan (4.5 per cent); the United Kingdom (4.4 per cent); and Malta (4.4 per cent).

Among women, Barbados (12.7 per cent), the Czech Republic (12.0 per cent) and Puerto Rico (11.6 per cent) are most affected. In the United States one of the largest contributors of global cancers associated with high body-mass index 3.5 per cent and 9.5 per cent of the country’s new cancer cases are linked to excess body weight in men and women, respectively.

Although in most Asian countries the proportion of cancers associated with overweight and obesity is not large, it still translates into a considerable absolute number of cases due to the large population size, the study noted.

For example, in China, about 50,000 cancer cases in women and men are associated with overweight and obesity, accounting for 1.6 per cent of the countrys new cancer cases, according to the study.

In contrast, the contribution of overweight and obesity to cancer burden remains low in Africa which had 7,300 cases, or 1.5 per cent of all new cancer cases in the continent.

Overall, we see that while the number of cancer cases associated with overweight and obesity remains highest in richer countries, similar effects are already visible in parts of the developing world, said Dr. Isabelle Soerjomataram, one of the study’s lead authors and the projects principal investigator.

A high body-mass index is a known risk factor for cancers of the oesophagus, colon, rectum, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, postmenopausal breast, ovary and endometrium, as well as for other non-communicable diseases, notably cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

A body-mass index is a measure of body fat that is calculated by dividing the weight in kilograms by the square of the height in metres.

The study also highlights that the proportion of cancers related to obesity is higher in women than in men, with population-attributable fractions of 5.3 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.

Women are disproportionately affected by obesity-related cancers, said IARCs Dr. Melina Arnold, one of the study’s lead authors.

For example, for postmenopausal breast cancer, the most common cancer in women worldwide, the study suggests that 10 per cent of these cancers could have been prevented by having a healthy body weight.

FoodFacts.com can clearly understand how the rates of obesity-related cancers are higher in more developed, wealthier countries. Our grocery store shelves are lined with the seeds of obesity far more than those in underdeveloped nations. We’re surrounded by the processed foods and sugary beverages that are the sources of obesity problems. We need changes that begin with our food supply and carry down through to our dietary habits. It’s only then that we’ll see a reversal in worldwide obesity statistics and a reduction in the rate of obesity-related cancers.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49453#.VH_BmVWJOuZ

New research shows smoking habits can be curbed with Omega-3s

omega 3Whether you’re trying to kick the habit or trying to help a loved one or a friend, there’s great new research out that links a simple supplement to curbing smoking habits.

Taking omega-3 supplements reduces craving for nicotine and even reduces the number of cigarettes that people smoke a day, according to a new study conducted at the University of Haifa. “The substances and medications used currently to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with. The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly,” said Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, head of the addictions program at the University of Haifa’s school of criminology department and of the psychopharmacology laboratory at Bar-Ilan, who conducted this study.

Chronic exposure to smoke-derived toxicants is the primary cause of progressive pulmonary and immune dysfunctions, as well as carcinogenesis Cigarette smoking is connected not only to cardiovascular dysfunction, immune system dysfunction and cancer, it also reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain, especially that of omega-3. A deficiency in omega-3 damages the cellular structure of nerve cells and interrupts neurotransmission in areas of the brain involved with feeling pleasure and satisfaction. These areas are essential in reward and decision-making, and are very important in the process of the development, maintenance and relapseof the addiction and to the inability to stop smoking. In simpler terms, omega-3 deficiency makes it harder for the smoker’s body to deal with its craving for another cigarette. “Earlier studies have proven that an imbalance in omega-3 is also related to mental health, depression and the ability to cope with pressure and stress. Pressure and stress, in turn, are associated with the urge to smoke. It is also known that stress and tension levels rise among people who quit smoking. Despite all this, the connection between all these factors had not been studied until now,” Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar said.

The current study adhered to a strict methodology (double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled) and included forty-eight smokers aged eighteen to forty-five who smoked at least ten cigarettes a day during the previous year, and an average of fourteen cigarettes a day. They were diagnosed as having a moderate dependency on nicotine. In total, the average age of the participants was twenty-nine and the average age they began smoking was under eighteen (in other words, they had been smoking for an average of eleven years). The participants were divided into two groups: One group received omega-3 capsules — “Omega-3 950″ produced by Solgar who donated the capsules for the study; the second group received a placebo. The participants were asked to take five capsules a day for thirty days and in total reported taking more than ninety-four percent of the capsules. At no stage in the study were the participants asked to stop smoking.

The levels of nicotine craving and consumption were checked using a series of scales regarding various aspects related to smoking urges, such as lack of control over tobacco use, anticipation of relief and satisfaction from smoking, and to the number of cigarettes smoked each day. These levels were measured at the beginning of the study, after thirty days (of treatment) and after sixty days (i.e., thirty days after stopping to take the capsules). Each time the study participants were tested they abstained from smoking for two hours and were then exposed to smoking-related cues images in order to stimulate their craving for nicotine.

The findings show that while no difference was found between the groups at the beginning of the study, after thirty days the smokers who had taken omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an eleven-percent decrease), even though they were not asked to change their smoking habits in any way. No less important, they showed a significant decrease in nicotine craving. After another thirty days of not taking anything, cigarette cravings increased slightly but still remained significantly lower than their initial level. In other words, the craving to smoke cigarettes did not return to the baseline level even a month after stopping to take the supplement. In the meantime, the group receiving the placebo did not show any significant changes in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes they smoked a day during the sixty days.

According to Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar, the finding that people who were not interested in stopping to smoke showed such a significant change reinforces the assumption that taking omega-3 can help smokers to regulate their addiction and reduce their smoking. Further research will indicate whether the supplement is also effective in stopping to smoke.

FoodFacts.com knows that most in our community are exceptionally health conscious and aware. But we all know people who have had a problem quitting smoking. It’s not an easy challenge and many of those we love can’t seem to overcome their addiction. This is great information to pass on. Omega-3 supplements are relatively inexpensive and easy to incorporate into one’s lifestyle. You don’t need a prescription. You aren’t putting more nicotene into your system and you won’t be inhaling controversial ingredients. Omega-3 supplements to reduce smoking frequency — let’s make sure this one gets around!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141106101903.htm

Pinkwashing and 5 hour energy

2014-10-16_08.14.40Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come to an end and with it the myriad of brand partnerships in support of this important cause. As the years go on we become more an more aware of a concept that’s been labeled as “pinkwashing.” The term was coined to describe those products and brand affiliating themselves with breast cancer that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find.

Among the regular cast of product partnerships, 5-hour Energy’s affiliation with Living Beyond Breast Cancer certainly stands out. From now until the end of 2014, 5-hour Energy is donating 5 cents from every sale of White Pink Lemonade to Living Beyond Breast Cancer. FoodFacts.com finds this to be the oddest food/beverage partnership we’ve seen.

We have a product with questionable ingredients that have been linked to emergency room visits and even fatalities partnering for a cause that’s meant to increase awareness of a devastating disease and call attention to efforts to promote its early detection and prevention.  It’s not just that the ingredients in energy drinks are controversial — it’s that they’re actually harmful in much more immediate ways than other controversial items.

So while we’re happy that 5-hour Energy committed to a minimum donation of $200,000 to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, we still find it a strange marriage. There are plenty of food manufacturers committing to breast cancer through a number of different organizations. Yoplait has been a Susan G. Komen Foundation supporter for years, along with Dietz & Watson, Bimbo Bakeries and Eggland’s Best.

There was a lot of news during this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month regarding pinkwashing. Some of that news called into question the appropriateness of certain partnerships and asked whether or not organizations accepting donations should be more selective regarding the brands which which they choose to affiliate.

Don’t get us wrong — FoodFacts.com is happy to see corporations donate money to good causes. But, let’s not forget that when their efforts are put in front of the public with a pink ribbon on product packaging and press releases talking about donating a percentage of sales to the cause, it is marketing. So when Living Beyond Breast Cancer forges a partnership with 5-hour Energy, they’re encouraging consumers to purchase a product that can actually hurt them.

We personally gravitate towards partnerships that make more sense for everyone involved — including the consumers who are the targets of any kind of cause marketing.

What girls eat today could influence their risk of breast cancer tomorrow

mailThere are many women for whom breast cancer is part of their family tree. Heredity can play an important role in the development of this devastating disease. But there are other women with no family history of breast cancer who are diagnosed every year having no idea how this could have happened to them.

But new research from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that what some of those women ate years ago as a teenager may have played a role.

“We know from lots of other data that that period of life is a critical period,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the Nutrition Department at the Harvard School of Public Health. “And the one thing that has been seen most clearly is consumption of red meat — both fresh meat and processed meat — during adolescence is related to higher risk of breast cancer.”

Researcher Maryam Farvid reviewed the data from nearly 45,000 women. She said girls don’t have to become vegetarians.

“If you just go from having red meat once a day to once a week, you can eliminate most of the risk,” Farvid said.

Researchers recommend choosing other forms of protein like nuts, beans, poultry and fish.

“That is the one thing that parents can steer their children towards to reduce their risk of breast cancer in the long run,” Willett said.

As for weight gain, research shows women increase their risk when they add pounds after menopause.

But as teenagers, it’s complicated.

“We actually see that the leaner girls have a higher risk of breast cancer later in life,” Willet said. “It’s quite a puzzle. It’s opposite to what everyone expected.”

Figuring out these connections between diet and risk could be key to preventing breast cancer in the next generation.

But one large-scale nutrition study — funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation — will take time.

The Growing Up Today Study has been tracking thousands of kids closely since 1996, but the oldest ones just turned 30.

“The participants have not really been old enough to start developing breast cancer yet, but within a decade or two, they will be.”

FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community works hard to make sure that their children are consuming nutritious, balanced diets. When it comes to breast cancer, nutritional awareness should take a front row seat in the educational process that can help us lower not only our own risk, but our daughters’ as well.

Read more:http://www.wcvb.com/health/leaner-girls-have-higher-risk-of-developing-breast-cancer-later-researchers-say/29014540#ixzz3HIapYaWu

Fighting breast cancer in the kitchen

fishWe always hear about the things we shouldn’t be doing when it comes to fighting breast cancer and other diseases and health conditions. We already know that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption contribute to a greater risk of breast cancer. We’ve also heard that we should reduce our intake of red meat for the same reasons. But what should we be consuming that can help stave off breast cancer?

So tonight, FoodFacts.com wants to take a positive approach and look at some foods that help reduce our breast cancer risk.

Oily Fish
Recently, a study published in the British Medical Journal featuring data from over 800,000 participants and 20,000 breast cancer patients linked diets high in oily fish intake to a lower risk of breast cancer. Diets featuring fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel that contain high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids work to help prevent breast cancer. Other sources of omega-3s are leafy greens, flaxseed and walnuts.

Berries
Featuring ellagic acid — a phytochemical linked to the prevention of a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, berries can make a big impact on your healthy diet. Both strawberries and raspberries are high in ellagic acid, but there are no bad-for-you berries — so enjoy!

Beans and other high fiber foods
Foods high in fiber have been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. In fact, for every 10 grams of fiber, breast cancer risk has been shown to decrease by seven percent. Breast cancer risk reduction in roughly a half cup of beans — that’s a pretty big benefit!

Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and kale are all members of the cruciferous vegetable family. A compound called sulforaphane is linked to fighting the spread of tumors.

Dairy
Research has shown that high levels of vitamin D and calcium lower breast density. Women with high breast density have four to five times the risk of developing breast cancer. While researchers haven’t yet determined whether it’s the vitamin D or calcium in your diet that lowers breast density, they do believe that low-fat dairy can help fight breast cancer development.

Tomatoes and other red and orange fruits and vegetables
A colorful plate has a positive effect on breast cancer. Fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids may reduce your risk of aggressive breast cancer by up to 20 percent. Carotenoids make for richly colored foods, so you’ll want to add fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe and mangos to your diet.

It’s always important to be proactive about our health. That doesn’t simply mean avoiding lifestyle habits that contribute to the risk of breast cancer. It also includes educating ourselves on the foods that can help us reduce our risks. During breast cancer awareness month, let’s get proactive and find creative and delicious ways to add the foods that can help us make a difference in our own health to the menu!

Soy and breast cancer … there’s more to the story

istock_000014130416xsmallSoy is certainly a controversial subject. And if you rely on soy as a dairy or protein substitute, you’ve undoubtedly heard and read about conflicting information regarding its health effects.

Could your daily soy lattes up your risk of breast cancer or lend a protective effect? So far, the research has been conflicting. While some studies have shown that soy can increase tumor growth at the cellular level, other research has found that soy may actually have a protective effect. However, most of what we know about this link comes from epidemiological studies (looking at broad population data), which have not been able to find a clear cause-and-effect link between soy and breast cancer.

Now, a new study published in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute directly compared women who took soy supplements with women who took a placebo to determine what effect soy would have on the expression of genes associated with breast cancer.

The researchers looked at 140 patients who had been recently diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. In the 2-3 weeks before their surgery (either a mastectomy or lumpectomy), these women were given either soy supplements (the equivalent of about four 16 oz. glasses of soy milk or four large servings of tofu) or a placebo every day. “The hypothesis was that soy food for a limited period of time could influence the behavior of already established breast cancer,” says study co-author Jacqueline Bromberg, M.D., Ph.D., breast medical oncologist and researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

After a few weeks, they found that some women in the soy group had high levels of genistein, a metabolite of soy, while the women in the placebo group did not. And interestingly, patients with high levels of this metabolite saw an increase in the genes associated with tumor growth. However, it’s important to note that the tumors were not actually growing better in these women.

Basically, taking a huge amount of soy in a short period of time led to changes in gene proliferation for some women with invasive breast cancer. But importantly, this didn’t lead to an actual change in the appearance or growth of a tumor, explains Bromberg. While the researchers definitely saw changes in the expression of these genes, they don’t know if this would lead to even greater changes if the women had been taking soy supplements for longer than 2-3 weeks.

So does that mean you should limit soy or avoid it completely if you have breast cancer?

Not necessarily. Like many things, soy seems to be safe in moderation, and there is definitely research showing it’s protective effects against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer. That said, this study does suggest that high amounts of soy may have an effect on women who have already been diagnosed. Bromberg notes that normal amounts of soy are probably fine for women with breast cancer, but she strongly advises against taking soy supplements. Moderation in a healthy diet is key, she says.

“Our study simply says that [after taking] large amounts of soy for a short period of time, a subgroup of patients who had high levels of the soy metabolite genistein had an increase in the expression of genes involved in the growth of tumor cells,” says Bromberg. “But that did not translate to an increase in actual growth.”

FoodFacts.com knows that many in our own community have had questions about the health benefits of soy vs. possible negative health effects. This new information does help to put some of those questions to rest. The advice certainly isn’t foreign — moderation in our dietary habits is always for the best.

http://www.today.com/health/latest-soy-breast-cancer-what-you-need-know-2D80192077

Can dietary fats influence breast cancer outcomes?

breast cancer affectsDuring this Breast Cancer Awareness Month we’ll be reading all about food, nutrition and breast cancer. FoodFacts.com knows we all appreciate this important information, especially women. Understanding more about this devastating disease and what we can do to prevent it is certainly significant for millions of women worldwide. But what about how diet affects women who are being treated for the disease. Interestingly, new research reports the importance of diet in successful treatment.

A new study is suggesting that dietary fat intake may determine how effective chemotherapy will be in preventing the advancement of breast cancer.

The study showed that a diet with stearate can reduce the incidence of breast cancer metastasis to the lungs by 50% in mice inoculated with human breast cancer cells who are receiving treatment with paclitaxel compared to a diet with corn oil and a diet low in fat.

Stearate is the salt of stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid that’s high in animal fat as well as cocoa butter and shea butter. As a saturated fatty acid, it’s won’t oxidize and it will cause the production of free radicals, increasing oxidative stress.

The stearate-enriched diet also reduced the number and size of nodules in the lungs when compared with the low-fat diet. Both the corn oil and stearate diets reduced the number of mice that had any lung metastasis in comparison with the low-fat diet.

This is a fascinating study, suggesting that diet does in fact have a direct correlation with successful breast cancer treatment. We are coming to understand more and more that our diets not only influence our overall health and well being, but can also be key to preventing disease and working along side with science and medicine to help us fight them as well.

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/2/Cancer/dietary_fat_affects_outcome_of_breast_cancer_0925141052.html