Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sandwiches now under attack

If you start with silly assumptions, you arrive at all sorts of silly conclusions. According to the stupid rules these "health" witch-doctors have dreamed up, roast dinners would be banned to. They will only be happy if we all live on lettuce. Repeated scientific studies have shown no benefit in a low fat diet and danger in a low salt diet.

FANCY a dose of salt and fat with your sandwich? Some sangers contain as much salt as six packets of potato chips and more saturated fat than a Big Mac. Expert analysis for the Herald Sun has uncovered the truth about some lunch favourites - and the news is not good for your heart or blood pressure. "Just because you buy a sandwich it doesn't necessarily mean it is better than junk food," accredited practising dietitian Milena Katz said. "You really need to be careful about the type of filling you choose rather than falling into a false sense of security."

Ms Katz said sandwiches packed with processed meats, drenched in sauces and combined with cheese could be a recipe for clogged arteries, stroke and heart attacks. The best choices limit fillings to one type of protein - such as meat, eggs or tinned fish - with salad or vegetables on multigrain bread.

A review of menus at Subway, Muffin Break, SumoSalad and bb's cafe found some products had startling amounts of salt and the bad saturated fat responsible for boosting cholesterol. One of the worst cases was a satay chicken wrap from Muffin Break with a whopping 1840mg of sodium - almost the entire recommended daily limit for an adult, and equivalent to the salt in six 45g bags of Smith's crinkle cut potato chips. It also had 11.5g of saturated fat, more than the 9.7g in a Big Mac.

Salami and pepperoni lovers tucking into a Subway spicy Italian six-inch sub are swallowing 1580mg of sodium, the amount in more than five packets of chips, and 11.2g of saturated fat. A bb's cafe chicken caesar panini had the salt content of almost six packets of chips, while SumoSalad's tuna cheese long roll contained less saturated fat than the burger, but the equivalent of the salt in four bags of chips.

The outlets said the items chosen were part of many options that included healthier choices. Selected companies make nutritional details available at stores and/or on websites. But people buying sandwiches from other shops are choosing blindly because sellers are not obliged to display nutritional fine print.

Steffi Burns, 16, was shocked when shown the sandwich report card. "Oh my gosh. I thought all kinds of sandwiches would be healthier than fast food, especially Maccas," the Diamond Creek teen said. Steffi said she usually took a salad to school. Her favourite sandwich is toasted ham, cheese and tomato.

Ms Katz said that while many people were aware of trimming fat, alarm bells should ring about salt, especially in the first 20 years of life. A homemade sandwich using finely sliced roast meat and salad or vegetables on multigrain bread was far healthier than bought sandwiches with processed meats full of preservatives, she said.

Some researchers say Australian adults are on average overdosing on at least twice the salt they need, risking high blood pressure and serious health problems. National watchdog Food Standards Australia New Zealand estimates one in three Australians exceed the recommended adult daily limit of no more than 2.3g (2300mg) of sodium, or about 1 1/2 teaspoons of common salt. Most of the sodium in food comes from salt (sodium chloride) added for flavour or as a preservative to extend shelf life. Low-salt foods contain 120mg of sodium per 100g.


New drug olaparib offers hope to women with genetic breast cancer

This sounds great but it must be kept in mind that some cancers regress spontaneously and that the long term effects have yet to be established

A new drug for genetic breast cancer could help thousands of women with hereditary forms of the disease, the first tests on patients suggest. A study involving 54 women with advanced genetic breast cancer found that the drug olaparib could stop the growth of tumours, and shrink them in more than 40 per cent of cases. In one case, a woman’s tumour disappeared completely after treatment with the drug, according to results to be presented at a science conference today.

About 5 per cent of the 46,000 cases of breast cancer in Britain each year are caused by defects on the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes, which put women at much higher risk of developing aggressive cancers of the breast or ovaries. Many women who test positive for the mutations have their breasts removed as a precaution, as they have an 80 per cent risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.

Olaparib, made by AstraZeneca , is the first of a new class of drugs specifically designed to treat BRCA-related cancers to be tested on patients. If further tests are successful, they could be used at an early stage to treat or prevent disease occurring within affected families, scientists say.

Pharmaceutical companies are also due to present targeted therapies for cancers of the lung, stomach and ovaries this week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Orlando, Florida, the world’s largest gathering of cancer scientists.

Andrew Tutt, director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit at King’s College London, who led the trial, said that the results for olaparib were “very promising”. “We are hopeful that olaparib could provide a targeted treatment for women with BRCA-related breast cancer,” he said. “Some women also develop breast cancer before they know they are carrying the gene, or see it recur if they have been diagnosed previously.”

Charlotte Sword, 40, has had breast cancer diagnosed twice, because of the potentially deadly mutation to the BRCA-1 gene which runs in her family. Her younger sister Audrey has suffered it three times. Both women have had double mastectomies and their ovaries removed. “Breast cancer has left a horrific mark on our family due to a mutation being passed down the paternal line”, Mrs Sword said yesterday. “I have three nieces who could benefit from this treatment, and could be spared the dreadful illness and side-effects of treatment that my sister and I had to go through.”

Olaparib works by blocking a protein that makes cancer cells which have a BRCA fault unable to repair their own DNNA. This causes the cancer cell to die and means that the tumour should either stop growing or get smaller. Because the drug works in a targeted way, it kills cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone in a way that chemotherapy does not, which could help to reduce the punishing side-effects of cancer treatment.

In the study carried out at hospitals in Britain, Europe, the US and Australia, 27 patients took 100mg oral doses of olaparib while another 27 took 400mg doses. More than 40 per cent of tumours in the higher dose group reduced significantly in size, while all tumours were prevented from progressing for an average of six months.

The Times reported this year that the London community of Ashkenazi Jews is being offered screening for BRCA genes that raise risks of breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. Ashkenazi have a high incidence of BRCA-related breast cancer.

The NHS currently offers BRCA testing, but only for women whose relatives have had cancer because of the mutations. But up to 50 per cent of people with the faulty genes do not have a family history of the diseases, largely because the gene can be carried by men.

Dr Tutt said that orlaparib may also have potential as an early-stage or preventative treatment. He added: “It is important to remember this drug is at a very early stage of development.” Herbie Newell, Cancer Research UK scientist at the Northern Research Institute, Newcastle University, said he was “extremely encouraged” by the study’s results. He said: “Olaparib is one of a family of targeted therapies currently in clinical trials and Cancer Research UK expect that this new class of anti-cancer treatments will make a significant impact in the fight against cancer."


No comments: