Saturday, September 22, 2007


You haven't heard of avocado eaters not getting cancer? Nor have I but the test tube and white rat studies below tell us that it must be happening. Where are the epidemiologists when you need them? Popular summary below followed by journal abstract

AVOCADOS should be included on the list of cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables, according to a new study in Seminars in Cancer Biology this week. Avocados are rich in vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, fibre and unsaturated fats. By studying oral cancer cells in the laboratory, scientists have found that the active plant chemicals (phytochemicals) in avocados can kill these cells while leaving normal cells untouched. Avocado extract can also stop pre-cancerous cells from becoming full-blown cancer. The authors claim that avocado could help to treat or even prevent cancer of the mouth, and the same may hold true for other types of cancer. One of the phytochemicals in avocado known as quercetin is able to stop the growth of prostate tumours in mice and decrease the severity of colon cancer in rats.


Chemopreventive characteristics of avocado fruit

By Haiming Ding et al.


Phytochemicals are recognized as playing an important role in cancer prevention by fruits and vegetables. The avocado is a widely grown and consumed fruit that is high in nutrients and low in calories, sodium, and fats. Studies have shown that phytochemicals extracted from the avocado fruit selectively induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines. Our recent studies indicate that phytochemicals extracted with chloroform from avocado fruits target multiple signaling pathways and increase intracellular reactive oxygen leading to apoptosis. This review summarizes the reported phytochemicals in avocado fruit and discusses their molecular mechanisms and targets. These studies suggest that individual and combinations of phytochemicals from the avocado fruit may offer an advantageous dietary strategy in cancer prevention.


Chocoholics not addicts, researcher says

A British psychologist says the 'naughty but nice' image is behind our love of chocolate. Resistance is futile. The more we try to fight off a craving for chocolate, the more our desire for it grows, a British researcher has said.

But chocoholics can take heart that such sweets are not addictive despite the fact many people consider themselves as having no control over their urges to eat them, said Peter Rogers, a psychologist at the University of Bristol. "Food behaviour can look like addictive behaviour in extreme situations but chocolate does not fit these criteria," Dr Rogers told a meeting sponsored by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Many people point to certain compounds found in chocolate - such as phenylethylamine - that produce a buzz when they reach the brain as evidence chocolate is addictive, Dr Rogers said. But many of these compounds also exist in higher concentrations in other foods with less appeal, such as avocados or cheese, and do not cause addiction despite what many chocoholics believe, he said. Instead, a social attitude that chocolate is "naughty but nice" may actually drive people to see chocolate as a forbidden pleasure and desire it even more, Dr Rogers said. "In other words, chocolate is a highly desirable food, but which according to social norms should be eaten with restraint," he said. "However, attempting to resist the desire to eat chocolate only causes thoughts about chocolate to become more prominent, consequently heightening the desire."

Other studies have suggested that dark chocolate contains more of the beneficial compounds linked with heart health, though experts note that the high sugar and fat content of most chocolate candy might cancel out some of the benefits.

But even health benefits do not make dark chocolate as popular as milk chocolate and chocolate covered confectionery, Dr Rogers said further research has shown. And the fact these favoured choices contain lower amounts of the so-called psychoactive compounds found in dark chocolate provides more evidence chocolate is not addictive, he said. "It is therefore far more plausible to suggest that a liking for chocolate, and its effects on mood, are due mainly to its principal constituents, sugar and fat, and their related orosensory and nutritional effects," he said in a statement.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


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