Omega-3s and Prostate Cancer Fact Check: What’s a Guy to Do?

The media is abuzz in the wake of a surprising new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linking omega-3s to a higher risk of prostate cancer. But should men give up eating their salmon?SuppsInFishShape

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are generally acclaimed for their link to reduced inflammation and overall health promotion, especially heart health. Omega-3s are found in salmon and other fatty fish as well as in supplements. Fish oil capsules containing the omega-3s EPA and DHA are among the most popular supplements.

The study measured the percent of three omega-3s most commonly found in fish and supplements – DHA, EPA and DPA – in the blood of 834 men with prostate cancer matched to 1,393 men without cancer. Men with the highest percentage of omega-3s in their blood had a 43% increased risk of prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest concentration. No increase in risk was found in the men in the two middle quartiles – in other words, those with moderate levels.

What’s a guy to do? For now, follow AICR’s evidence-based recommendations for prostate cancer. Men can include plenty of foods rich in the antioxidants lycopene (tomatoes are a great source) and selenium (found in sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts) and rest easy knowing they’re helping reduce their risk of not only cancer but other chronic Continue reading


Study: Dessert with meals may help kids eat fewer calories

Did you ever wish your parent let you eat your cake alongside your broccoli? Child eating cookieA small study published in the journal Appetite this week reported that preschool children might actually eat fewer calories when dessert is served right alongside their meal instead of afterwards.

The study out of Purdue University measured how the timing of dessert made a difference in how much lunch 23 chidren ate. Half of the 2-5 year old children were served a chocolate chip cookie alongside their lunch on Thursdays and Fridays while the other half received their dessert after their lunch plates were cleared. Eight weeks later, they switched groups. Thursday’s lunch entrée was fish and Friday was pasta, two favorites of this primarily Asian and Caucasian group of children.

Accounting for age, room, menu rotation, type of meal, and presence of morning snack, researchers found that children consumed 9% more calories overall when the cookie was served after lunch trays were cleared.

Portion size was also addressed by rotating in 50% larger portions of entrée, vegetable and fruit at certain meals, but surprisingly portion size was not found to factor into total calorie intake. The authors surmised that the results might be because the kids served dessert at the same time as lunch filled up sooner and chose to eat less food overall.

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Study: AICR Recommendations Lower Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Man eating watermelonA new study appearing in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that following at least four AICR/WCRF recommendations for cancer prevention reduced men’s risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer tumors by 38%.

The study, which came out of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, looked at adherence to seven of AICR’s ten recommendations in over two-thousand African-American and Caucasian men aged 40-70 recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. The risk of aggressive tumor development was found to be lower in those men who followed four or more recommendations regardless of race.

Why should I pay attention?  I thought only old guys in their eighties got prostate cancer.  After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime during his life.  In 2013, almost 239,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and nearly 30,000 will die from the disease.  Being overweight, smoking, and a lack of vegetables in the diet are linked to a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer (as opposed to the slower-growing form of prostate cancer). Aggressive cancers mean lower survival rates, making these findings on preventing aggressive forms even more relevant. Continue reading