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Drinking Unpasteurized Juice May Be Harmful to Your Health

Most of us think of juice as a good alternative to soda, but drinking unpasteurized juice can cause illness, especially in the young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. When fruits and vegetables are made into juice, bacteria may be present; if the juice is not pasteurized, the bacteria can remain and grow. For the past 5 years, unpasteurized juices must be labeled with a warning. For further information about juice, call 888-SAFEFOOD (FDA, July 25, 2003)


Could Flawed Research Methods Be the Reason Dietary Fat Is Not Linked to Breast Cancer?

World-class British researcher Sheila Bingham and colleagues contend that the use of a food-frequency questionnaire might be the culprit behind many studies' lack of association between breast cancer and dietary fat. When data taken from the food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and detailed 7-day food diaries of 13,070 women between 1993 and 1997 were compared, the risk of breast cancer was associated with saturated-fat intake when measured with the food diary (hazard ratio 1.22 per quintile increase in energy-adjusted fat intake) but not with saturated fat measured with the FFQ (hazard ratio 1.10). Food diaries are more tedious to fill out and expensive to code than FFQs. (Lancet. 2003;362:212-214)


Report Cards for Healthy Weight in Children

Instead of children bringing report cards home to their parents, schools would be grading parents and families on the family's concern and awareness of their child's weight status and preventive health behaviors. In a recent article in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers compared a personalized weight and fitness health report card intervention (PI), a general-information intervention (GI), and a control group (CG). Families of 1,396 ethnically diverse students at 4 elementary schools were mailed information from 1 of the 3 groups (controls received GI information after the follow-up telephone calls). Parents who were mailed PI information were more likely to seek planned medical help (P = .04), dieting activities (P = .02), and physical fitness activities (P = .001) for their overweight children than the GI or control group. (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157:765-772)


Which Is Better: A Balanced Diet, Supplements, or Both to Reduce Cancer Risk?

A balanced diet is the best, at least in one instance, says the US Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) in a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It recommends that people not take beta-carotene for prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The interaction between food and diet is more complex than a 1-to-1 relationship between a specific vitamin or other nutrient and the risk of disease. There is evidence that the interactions among components in a food are the basis for the protection against cancer. However, this is a hard pill for Americans to swallow, because a survey conducted by the American Institute of Cancer Research found that Americans are more likely to view a vitamin bottle as the source of cancer protection than make healthy diet changes to lower chronic disease risk. (AICR, August 6, 2003)