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Colon Cancer and a High-Fiber Diet


Keeping Your Mind Alive by Keeping Your Body Fit


Diabetes and Alcohol



Another Perspective on Chromium

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the United Kingdom has issued an advisory about the mineral supplement chromium picolinate. Saying it may cause cancer, the agency is considering a ban on its use in the manufacture of food supplements. Some athletes and dieters use chromium picolinate to lose weight. The FSA, which reviewed 34 vitamins and minerals, also indicated that high doses of several other nutrients can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea: 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 1,500 mg of calcium, and 17mg of iron. It also warned that >10 mg of B6 for an extended period can cause loss of feeling in the arms and legs.


(, May 8, 2003)


Are Lifestyle Changes as Good as Drug Therapy in Reducing Blood Pressure?

People who follow the DASH diet can lower their blood pressure as well as those who take single drug therapy, the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure states in the May issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The DASH diet eating plan is high in fruits and vegetables (8-10 servings per day) and in low-fat dairy products (2-3 servings per day). The authors of the DASH-sodium study indicate that if Americans follow the DASH diet, there might be a 15% reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease.


(Nutrition and Health News Alert, May 16, 2003)


Risk of Colon Cancer Plummets With a High-Fiber Diet

Two studies in the Lancet have found that people who eat the highest amounts of dietary fiber (between 30 and 35 g/day) reduced their risk of colon cancer by 40%. One study looked at the diets of 519,978 subjects in 10 European countries for a 4.5-year period. The second compared participants without colon adenomas to subjects with at least one polyp. Both studies were observational, so they are not considered definitive. Dietary fiber intake in the United States remains at an average of 11-15 g, which is well below the recommended levels of 25-30 g day.


(AICR News Release, April 30, 2003)


High-Protein Diets Don't Increase Calcium Loss

In a study at the Human Nutrition Research Center at Grand Forks in North Dakota, researchers put 15 healthy postmenopausal women on a low-meat (1.5 oz of meat daily) or high-meat diet (10.5 oz of meat daily) for 8 weeks. Participants consumed approximately 600 mg of calcium per day. Calcium, sodium, and caffeine intakes were kept constant. The authors determined that the subjects could eat twice the recommended dietary allowance of protein, mostly as meat, and avoid adverse effects on calcium retention or on biomarkers for bone breakdown. The results of the study differ from previous research on the subject, perhaps because previous studies used purified proteins, which did not have the calcium-sparing effect of phosphorus and potassium, which are found in meat. The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Nutrition.


(National Academies of Science, April 28, 2003)


Is a Mixed Diet More Nutritious?

A study published in the May issue of the American Dietetic Association found that people who eat a mixed-fat diet had high calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, fiber, most B vitamin, and vitamin A and C intakes. Information on the diets of 14,000 Americans was divided into 3 groups: the low-fat eaters, high-fat eaters, and mixed-fat eaters. High-fat eaters ate regular versions of selected foods, low-fat eaters ate only low fat versions of selected foods, and mixed-fat eaters ate both. Mixed-fat eaters were more educated and had higher incomes than either low-fat or high-fat eaters.


(, May 6)


Should Barley Be a Part of Your Diet?

A study performed at the USDA Agricultural Research Service Diet and Human Performance Laboratory in Beltsville, Md, has found that diets high in barley lowered cholesterol levels. Researchers Dr Kay Behall, Judith Hallfrisch, and others are looking at how grains containing soluble fiber, such as barley, may reduce risk of excess weight, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. More information about these ongoing studies is available at


(National Academies, June 2, 2003)


Keep Your Mind Alive by Keeping Your Body Fit

Researchers at the University of Illinois compared the mental acuity of 24 adults aged 57 to 72 years to a control group of 8 college students. The participants were tested on their "executive control function" (ECF), which is a type of complex thinking where one makes a multitude of instantaneous decisions, such as a car darting into your lane, or handling two simultaneous tasks, such as giving instructions to the gas company while comforting a distraught child. The most physically active adults had ECF scores closer to the college students than to their less physically active peers. So taking that extra walk each day can help!


(Consumer Reports on Health, May 2003)


Does Systemic Inflammation in Patients With Cancer Lead to Low Antioxidant Levels?

Patients with cancer are already at risk for low antioxidant blood levels because of poor dietary intake. The antioxidant levels in their blood may drop even further because of cancer-induced systemic inflammatory response. When researchers measured blood levels of several antioxidants and C-reactive protein, which is a marker and promoter of inflammation, in 30 patients with cancer and 30 controls, they found that the patients with cancer had higher levels of C-reactive protein and lower levels of antioxidants, compared with the healthy subjects.


(Veris, April 2003)


Kids Don't Think Obesity Is a Health Problem

Preteens and their parents aren't concerned about their weight being a health risk reports a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study attempted to gauge the attitudes of parents and their children about obesity in this age group. Key findings of the study include: children and parents both relate obesity more to food than to physical activity. Many children equate being healthy with following rules, and many overweight kids say they do not have much opportunity for physical activity. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines childhood obesity as a child at or above the 95th percentile of body mass index for his or her age group.


(IFIC FOUNDATION, June 3, 2003)


Is There a Correlation Between Parkinson's Disease, Dietary Iron, and Manganese?

A research study published in a recent issue of Neurology compared the dietary histories of patients who were newly diagnosed with Parkinson's disease to matched case controls. Food frequency habits were obtained during personal interviews, and nutrient intakes were adjusted for each person's total energy intake. Researchers found that the subjects with the highest quartile of iron intake had a 1.7 odds ratio of contracting the disease, as opposed to subjects in the lowest quartile of iron intake. Manganese conferred an additive effect; intake above the median level for both nutrients nearly doubled the risk.


(Neurology, 2003;60:1761-1766)


More Evidence That Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene Are Not Panaceas for Heart Disease

A report by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio published in the Lancet has concluded that taking vitamin E does not convey any benefit for patients with heart disease or who are at high risk of heart disease.


(MSNBC News, June 14, 2003)


Diabetes and Alcohol

Could moderate amounts of liquor ward off the onset of diabetes? A study at Harvard University points in that direction. The study looked at 109,690 women ages 25 to 42 years for a 10-year period. Women who drank between .5 and 2 alcoholic drinks per day were 58% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who did not drink at all. However, the trend did not continue in a positive direction as the consumption of alcohol increased. Women who drank more than 2 drinks per day had double the risk of developing diabetes.


(MSNBC News, June 14, 2003)


Coral Calcium Ain't What It Claims to Be, and the FTC Is on Its Back

Although calcium has several legitimate functions in the body and intake recommendations for the public range from 1000 mg to 1500 mg per day to maintain bone health, the makers of coral calcium have claimed that the product has the ability to cure everything, from multiple sclerosis to cancer. Unfortunately, none of it is true. In an effort to protect the consumer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration are sending warning letters to retail and Internet marketers of coral-calcium products, ordering them to remove the false advertising. Calcium can come in many forms: citrate, carbonate, lactate, and gluconate. All are useful sources of supplemental calcium for people who do not get sufficient calcium through their diet, although the lactate and gluconate forms may be more expensive. Because of potential contaminants, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends avoiding calcium from unrefined oyster shells, bone meal, or dolomite, unless the product is labeled with a US Pharmacopeia (USP) symbol.


(The Plain Dealer, June 14, 2003)