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* Fasting and Radiotherapy


* NIH Strategic Plan for Nutrition


* Sickle Cell Disease



Starvation, as well as various diets, has been proposed to increase the oxidative DNA damage induced by radiotherapy (RT). However, some diets could have dual effects, sometimes promoting cancer growth, whereas proposing caloric restriction may appear counterproductive during RT considering that the maintenance of weight is a major factor for the success of this therapy. A systematic review was performed via a PubMed search on RT and fasting, or caloric restriction, ketogenic diet (>75% of fat-derived energy intake), protein starvation, amino acid restriction, and the Warburg effect. Twenty-six eligible original articles (17 preclinical studies and 9 clinical noncontrolled studies on low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets popularized as ketogenic diets, representing a total of 77 patients) were included. Preclinical experiments suggest that a short period of fasting prior to radiation, and/or transient caloric restriction during treatment course, can increase tumor responsiveness. These regimens promote accumulation of oxidative lesions and insufficient repair, subsequently leading to cancer cell death. Because of their more flexible metabolism, healthy cells should be less sensitive, shifting their metabolism to support survival and repair. Interestingly, these regimens might stimulate an acute anticancer immune response and may be of particular interest in tumors with high glucose uptake on positron emission tomography scan, a phenotype associated with poor survival and resistance to RT. Preclinical studies with ketogenic diets yielded more conflicting results, perhaps because cancer cells can sometimes metabolize fatty acids and/or ketone bodies. Randomized trials are awaited to specify the role of each strategy according to the clinical setting, although more stringent definitions of proposed diet, nutritional status, and consensual criteria for tumor response assessment are needed. In conclusion, dietary interventions during RT could be a simple and medically economical and inexpensive method that may deserve to be tested to improve efficiency of radiation. But for now, the best advice for those undergoing such treatments is to consult their physicians before undergoing any such regimens. Stay tuned!


Source: Icard P, Ollivier L, Forgez P, et al. Adv Nutr 2020;11(5):1089-1101,



One in 5 children in a national study reported that they do not eat breakfast, with the proportion of breakfast-eaters decreasing as kids age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 82% of children and young adults ate breakfast on a given day, and children were less likely to eat a morning meal as they got older, with nearly 96% of children aged 2 to 5 years consuming breakfast versus 73% of those aged 12 to 19 years.


The proportion of children who ate breakfast increased with their family's household income, and differed among racial groups. Black and Hispanic children across all age groups were less likely to eat breakfast than their White and Asian peers.


Eating breakfast is vital for school-aged children and clearly helpful for good nutrition. It may also be associated with better memory and test scores, a healthier body weight, and improved overall nutrition, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Terry and colleagues obtained data from 2015 to 2018 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All participants were asked to recall their dietary intake across the last 24 hours. Participants were stratified into 3 age groups: 2 to 5, 6 to 11, and 12 to 19 years.


Approximately 78% of Black children overall reported having breakfast versus 85% of White children, 86% of Asian children, and 80% of Hispanic children. Black adolescents ate breakfast at the lowest rate, with two-thirds stating that they consumed breakfast.


Approximately 78% of children whose families had an income below the federal poverty level reported eating breakfast, 10% less than kids who came from higher-income households.


Milk, high-sugar cereals, and water were reported as the most common breakfast items for children and young adults in all age groups. One-fifth of all kids drank water at breakfast. Approximately 60% of children aged 2 to 5 years consumed milk, versus 30% of children aged 12 to 19 years. Children aged 6 to 19 years, were more likely than the youngest group to consume 100% juice.


There were no changes in the percentage of children who consumed breakfast from 2009-2010 to 2017-2018. As for this COVID-19 time, data are not available. While the proportion of children who ate breakfast decreased with age, there were no differences between girls and boys.


Because dietary data for younger and middle-aged children were reported by a proxy, and dietary recall may be subject to misreporting, the researchers acknowledged that the data may be biased. Regardless, the association between breakfast consumption and household income highlights the role the school breakfast programs.




Terry AL, Wambogo E, Ansai N, Ahluwalia N. Breakfast intake among children and adolescents: United States, 2015-2018. NCHS Data Brief No. 386, October 2020.



What if each of us had individualized dietary recommendations that helped us decide what, when, why, and how to eat to optimize our health and quality of life? This precision nutrition approach-developing targeted and effective diet interventions in a diverse population-is among the ambitious goals set out by the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for National Institutes of Health (NIH) Nutrition Research. The NIH, guided by its Nutrition Research Task Force and armed with the insights from the nutrition science community, practitioners, the public, and others, has created a bold vision to advance nutrition science discoveries over the next 10 years. With a focus on precision nutrition, the plan reflects the wide range of nutrition research supported across NIH-more than $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2019. The strategic plan calls for a multidisciplinary approach through expanded collaboration across NIH institutes and centers to accelerate nutrition science and uncover the role of human nutrition in improving public health and reducing disease.


The strategic plan is organized around four strategic goals that answer key questions in nutrition research:


* What do we eat and how does it affect us?


* What and when should we eat? Investigate the Role of Dietary Patterns and Behaviors for Optimal Health.


* How does what we eat promote health across our lifespan? Define the Role of Nutrition Across the Lifespan.


* How can we improve the use of food as medicine? Reduce the Burden of Disease in Clinical Settings.



The plan has 5 cross-cutting areas relevant to all these strategic goals, including minority health and health disparities; health of women; rigor and reproducibility; data science, systems science, and artificial intelligence; and training the nutrition scientific workforce.


The strategic plan aligns with the National Nutrition Research Roadmap 2016-2021 created by the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research, an excellent transfederal government committee charged with enhancing the coordination and communication among multiple federal agencies conducting nutrition research.


As the plan is put into action, NIH will continue to seek input from the nutrition community and others. The task force will guide the plan's application through implementation working groups that will pursue opportunities to advance the priorities identified in each of the strategic goals and cross-cutting research areas and catalyze nutrition research at NIH-funded universities and institutions and in NIH laboratories. The task force will track the progress of the plan and post information on its website: