Saturday, January 07, 2006

Diet pills fail health test: Dieters could risk high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and even DNA and thyroid problems by taking some over-the-counter slimming pills, the Australian Consumers Association has warned. The ACA has completed a study of literature on active ingredients in slimming pills in time for the thousands of Australians who have made a new year's resolution to lose those extra kilos. The study showed the ingredients could be dangerous, while the benefits were nothing more than marginal. ACA senior food policy officer Clare Hughes said many slimming pill products did not have to be registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration and, therefore, went on the market without government evaluation. Pills containing the chemical capsaicin in hot chillies and red peppers or the rind of Seville oranges might increase metabolism, but there was no compelling evidence that they assisted weight loss, according to the ACA study".

Coffee good for women: "Women with BRCA1 gene mutations, which confer a high risk of developing breast cancer, might decrease their risk by drinking a lot of coffee, according to a multicentre team of investigators. Dr. Steven A Narod, of the University of Toronto, Ontario, and colleagues examined the association between coffee consumption and the risk of breast cancer among 1690 high-risk women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. The study included women from 40 clinical centres in four countries. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess the average lifetime coffee consumption. The likelihood of developing breast cancer among BRCA mutation carriers who drank 1 to 3 cups of coffee daily, 4 to 5 cups, or 6 or more cups was reduced by 10 per cent, 25 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively, compared to those who drank no coffee, according to the report in the International Journal of Cancer. When the investigators classified the women by mutation status, they found significant protection from coffee for women with a BRCA1 mutation, but not for carriers of a BRCA2 mutation.

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