Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Vegetarian diet could cut risk of cancer by 45 per cent

And pigs could fly. More guesswork based on just a statistical association. It could be (for instance) that it is mainly fussy middle class people who are the vegetarians and middle class people are healthier anyhow. Or maybe vegetarians live more cautious and hence safer lives, thus exposing themselves to fewer dangerous substances etc. Speculation could go on and on but what's the point? NO causative inferences have been established and none are possible from evidence such as this

Eating a vegetarian diet can almost halve the risk of developing cancer, research suggests. A study of more than 61,000 individuals aged between 20 and 89 found those who did not eat meat reduced overall incidence of the disease by 12 per cent. But the most striking difference was in cancers of the blood, including leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma with 45 per cent fewer cases among the vegetarians. Tumours of the stomach and bladder were also significantly less frequent in this group.

Professor Tim Key, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said: 'Over a lifetime about one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer. So if 33 people in every hundred get cancer this would come down to about 29 with everyone following a vegetarian diet, which is 12 per cent lower.' However, Mr Key said the findings were not yet strong enough to advise the public to make dramatic changes to the way they eat as long as they are following an 'average balanced diet'.

Although it is widely recommended we eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to reduce their risk of cancer and other diseases, there is little evidence looking specifically at a vegetarian diet.

Mr Key, whose findings are published in the British Journal of Cancer, added: 'More research is needed to substantiate these results and to look for reasons for the differences.' His team followed the participants, just over half of whom were meat eaters, for more than 12 years during which time 3,350 were diagnosed with cancer. They looked at the rates of cancer among the vegetarians, and then compared them with those of the meat eaters.

Mr Key said: 'Our study looking at cancer risk in vegetarians found the likelihood of people developing some cancers is lower among vegetarians than among people who eat meat. 'In terms of what explains this we have to look at what other research is going on. For stomach cancer there is already quite a lot of evidence that high intake of food such as processed meat may increase risk. 'Obviously, vegetarians who are not eating meat would not have that risk factor. It could be something about being a vegetarian that is protective, or alternatively it could be something about meat actually increasing the risk.'

Su Taylor, of the Vegetarian Society, said: 'This latest research adds to a growing body of evidence that vegetarians are less likely to get cancer. 'It could be they are simply more likely to stick to the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, thereby eating more roughage, or it could be more complicated than this.'


Orange juice acid 'can wash away enamel on your teeth'

This one's been around for a while now. Just remember: EVERYTHING is bad for you and life is always fatal. More seriously: The reasoning and findings make some sense but a lot of people are heavy drinkers of Coca Cola, which is very good at dissolving teeth, but most Coke drinkers have still got their teeth. You would have to go unusual extremes for orange juice to harm you

It may not just be breakfast you wash down with a morning glass of orange juice, researchers warned yesterday. Some juice is so acidic, it can take part of your teeth with it. Fruit beverages can cut enamel hardness by 84 per cent causing teeth to erode more than previously thought, according to one U.S. expert. Dr Yan-Fang Ren, of the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York, said the acid in orange juice 'is so strong that the tooth is literally washed away'.

Dr Ren and his team made the discovery after studying the effects of over-the-counter teeth whitening products. He found the effect of six per cent hydrogen peroxide, the common ingredient used for teeth whitening, was 'insignificant' compared with acidic fruit juices. The orange juice markedly cut hardness and increased roughness of tooth enamel.

The researchers used a revolutionary vertical scanning microscope for the first time to see the extensive surface detail on teeth. It has long been known that fruit juice and carbonated drinks have high acid content and can reduce the strength of enamel. Dentists have advised some of these drinks should only be consumed with a straw or at the same time as eating food. But the damaging effects of drinks could be worse than previously thought, according to the article in the Journal of Dentistry.

Weakened and eroded enamel may speed up the wear of the tooth and increase the risk of tooth decay developing and spreading. Dr Ren said: 'Most soft drinks, including sodas and fruit juices, are acidic in nature. 'Our studies demonstrated that the orange juice, as an example, can potentially cause significant erosion of teeth. It's potentially a very serious problem for people who drink sodas and fruit juices daily. 'We do not yet have an effective tool to avert the erosive effects, although there are early indications that higher levels of fluoride may help slow down the erosion.'

Dr Ren advises consumers to be aware of the acidic nature of beverages, including sodas, fruit juices, sports and energy drinks. The longer teeth are in contact with the acidic drinks, the more the erosion will be. Those who sip their drinks slowly over 20 minutes are more likely to have tooth erosion than those who finish a drink quickly. Dr Ren said it is important to keep good oral hygiene by brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

The research comes after a recent study revealed that drinking fruit juice dramatically reduces the effectiveness of drugs used to treat cancer, heart conditions and high blood pressure. Research has shown that orange, apple and grapefruit juice can also wipe out the benefits of some antibiotics and hay-fever pills. It is thought the drinks stop drugs from entering the bloodstream and getting to work in the body - possibly rendering them useless. The potential effects are so serious, researchers warned, that if in doubt patients should swap fruit juices for water when on medication.


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