Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sugary drinks linked to womb cancer: Those who consume the most are 78 per cent more likely to contract killer disease (?)

Soft drinks laden with sugar could raise a woman’s risk of developing womb cancer, claim researchers.  They said those who downed the highest amounts were 78 per cent more likely to suffer from the disease as those who did not.

The disease tends to hit women aged 50-plus and is Britain’s fourth most common female cancer, killing nearly 2,000 a year.

The 14-year study involving almost 25,000 women in their 50s and 60s looked into endometrial cancer, which affects the lining of the womb.  The participants  gave detailed data about what they ate and drank, with around half having fizzy drinks.

Almost 600 developed endometrial cancer, the most common form of the disease when it affects the womb. However, there was no link with diet versions.

The University of Minnesota researchers said that they couldn’t rule out that women who had lots of sugar-laden drinks had lots of unhealthy habits.

However, they believe the sugar in the soft drinks to be key as it could make the women put on weight. This is important because fat cells make oestrogen, a hormone that is believed to fuel endometrial cancer.

Overweight women also tend to make more insulin, another hormone linked to the disease.

Researcher Dr Maki Inoue-Choi said: ‘Research has documented the contribution of sugar-sweetened beverages to the obesity epidemic.

‘Too much sugar can boost a person’s overall calorie intake and may increase the risk of health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.’

The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is the latest in a long line to raise concerns about the health effects of the soft drinks enjoyed by millions of Britons every day.

Previous studies have linked them to a host of health problems, including heart attacks, diabetes, weight gain, brittle bones, pancreatic and prostate cancer, muscle weakness and paralysis.

The soft drinks industry says that its products account for a tiny amount of overall calorie intake.


Alcohol is good for your health: leading science writer claims tipple can prevent cancer and may help improve your sex life

A businessman goes to his GP. ‘My hands hurt, I get a bit of a pain in my chest sometimes, and I’m beginning to forget things,’ he complains.

The doctor examines him and says: ‘You’ve got a touch of arthritis, possibly mild heart disease, and you may be in the first stages of dementia. How much are you drinking?’

‘Never touch a drop, doctor,’ says the patient proudly.  ‘Ah, that explains it,’ says the GP, wagging an admonishing finger. ‘Here’s a prescription for red wine — a quarter of a litre a day.’

Ridiculous? Absurd? A story from the Bumper Book of Jokes for  Alcoholics? Absolutely not.

Let me tell you this: if GPs fail to recommend alcohol to at least some of their patients, they should be had up for medical negligence.

That, at least, is the logical conclusion I’ve drawn from an in-depth study of around half-a-million scientific papers about alcohol.

To my surprise, they contained findings that would make any pharmaceutical company uncork the champagne. Except they never will, of course, because alcohol can’t be patented as a drug.

Most of the evidence suggests that if red wine, in particular — and to a lesser degree white wine, beer, lager and spirits — were used as a preventive and therapeutic medicine, disease rates would fall substantially. Not only that, but lives would be saved — with huge benefits to the economy.

In fact, red wine may well be one of the most effective ‘medications’ in history.

Like other drugs, it has side-effects. It has a minimum and maximum therapeutic dose — take too little and it won’t work; take too much and it may make you ill.

And it has a daily treatment regime: ideally, you should take wine once a day with the evening meal.

Yes, daily. I know that the medical profession urges us to stop drinking at least two or three days a week, but this isn’t borne out by scientific studies. These consistently show that daily moderate drinking is the best for health.

OK, but what is a moderate amount? Unfortunately, that’s where it gets a bit more complicated, because the prevention and treatment of different diseases seem to require differing amounts — varying from a small to a large glass a day, but sometimes more.

Of course, most people already know red wine is supposed to be good for your heart. But, that aside, the endlessly repeated public message is that alcohol is Bad News.

Now, I’d be foolish to deny that over-indulging in booze can be harmful to society. You need only think of alcohol-fuelled crime, road deaths, city centre mayhem, domestic violence, and costs to the NHS.

But to show only one side of the picture, as government and medical authorities inevitably do, is simply bad medicine. It prevents people making sensible decisions about their own health.

Why haven’t doctors ever come clean about all this? The reason is fairly obvious: they don’t trust us.

One shining exception is Professor Karol Sikora, the UK-based consultant oncologist who’s written the foreword to my new book about the benefits of alcohol.

Too much booze, he warns, not only kills but ‘ruins lives, destroys families, ends successful careers, causes untold physical and mental illness and has a huge adverse impact on society’.

However, he continues: ‘If you don’t drink at all, you have a defined risk of developing all sorts of medical problems in your heart, joints, brain, blood sugar levels, and kidneys — indeed all round your body.

‘As you begin to drink, there seems to be evidence of benefit. As you drink more, that gradually disappears and the damaging effects kick in.’

But let’s be clear here: I’m not recommending anything personally. I’m just an averagely intelligent science journalist who’s done what anyone else can if they have the time: I’ve looked at the scientific and medical data published in top-flight journals, and collated the evidence.

So, readers should consult knowledgeable health professionals before acting upon anything they read below. The trouble is, most doctors know very little about this area, because they, like you, have been largely kept in the dark.


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