Can burned toast and blackened potatoes lead to cancer? It’s a story making headlines today because of an initiative a UK government agency has taken to highlight a substance found in these products that are a “possible concern” for increased cancer risk.
The compound is called acrylamide and it’s generally formed when you cook up some starchy foods at high temperatures, over 120 degrees. The sugars and amino acids in the foods cause a reaction, the Maillard reaction, which leads to acrylamide.
AICR’s evidence shows that having too much body fat increases risk for eleven cancers. But researchers are looking at whether losing weight, once overweight, would lead to lower risk for these cancers. Now a new study from researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center shows how weight loss – through diet alone or diet and exercise – might change pro-cancer substances in the body.
The 12-month controlled trial of 439 healthy, postmenopausal women with overweight/obesity included 4 randomized groups: calorie restriction diet; moderate activity (goal of 3.75 hours per week), diet and exercise, and no intervention. Researchers wanted to see if these lifestyle changes would affect four substances in the body (biomarkers) that influence formation of blood vessels needed for tumor growth. Fat cell growth also requires a greater blood supply, so these biomarkers are also associated with increasing fat tissue.
Like last year, I created a Google Spreadsheet to query raw publication counts from PubMed of food/nutrition/health terms from an AICR/WCRF report. This is a way to visualize how nutrition and cancer research may be changing over time. The counts represent the number of published articles containing the term in column A plus “cancer” in the title or abstract.
Like last year, I used the following color scheme from the AICR report: the coloring reflects the strongest confidence for an association between the term and a decreased or increased risk for at least one cancer type. Terms with a yellow background were not in the document list and added by me.
The spreadsheet is sorted by column D: the percentage of papers published in 2013 compared to 2012. This will still change as PubMed will be indexing papers published in 2013 for some time, but the spreadsheet auto-updates daily so it will become more accurate over time. Column M shows the average publication count change per year over the last 6 years (2008 to 2013), which may better reflect the recent trend. Read more… “Trends in Cancer Prevention Research”
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