Monday, July 31, 2006

No evidence that diet changes fight cancer: "Two new studies have found what their authors say is scant evidence that changes in diet help cancer patients survive longer or avoid recurrences of the disease. Many cancer patients and their families see hope in foods popularly believed to help fight cancer, including nutritional supplements. And studies indicate that eating plenty of vegetables and fruits helps prevent certain cancers. While not disputing that healthy eating has major benefits, the authors of one study said such diets may have little relevance in treating cancer itself. Some nutritional supplements may even be harmful, they added. The study consisted of an analysis of 59 previous studies of specific dietary modifications. There was little relationship between diet and survival or prognosis, the authors said. The other study found that neither garlic nor vitamin supplements, both popularly thought to help fight cancer, delays the progression of pre-cancerous gastric lesions to cancer. Both studies appear in the July 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute."

Preggy mothers should eat up: "Babies whose mothers do not eat enough during pregnancy appear to be at risk of clogged up arteries later in life, researchers say. A study of 200 children found that, on average, the lower the mother's calorific intake during pregnancy, the thicker the child's artery walls. Clogged up arteries - atherosclerosis - can lead to heart disease and strokes. The University of Southampton team said the reasons for the apparent link were unclear and needed further exploration. Their study appears in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.... The researchers said it did not matter what proportion of the calorie intake came from fat, protein or carbohydrate - it was the total calorie intake that was important. The association between artery thickness and calorific intake remained strong even after taking account of factors such as social class, smoking, exercise habits and sickness in pregnancy.... "Our advice to pregnant women is that a healthy balanced diet is essential to give both mother and baby the best chance of a healthier life. "A restricted or low calorie diet should not be followed during pregnancy."

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