Study: Whole Grains Affect Gut Bacteria, Insulin, and Cholesterol

AICR recommends choosing whole grains over refined or processed grains— in addition to being higher in nutrients and phytochemicals, whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains. Foods containing fiber protect against colorectal cancer and may keep you full longer, helping you manage your weight. Whole grains are also linked to a lower risbowl full of oats - healthy eating - food and drinkk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Scientists are not sure why whole grains and fiber are beneficial for health, but a new study in mice published in the Journal of Nutrition adds to the evidence that changes in the types of bacteria that live in the intestines—known as the gut microbiota—may be important.

The researchers fed one group of mice flour made from whole grain oats, while the other group of mice got refined flour lower in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows the passage of food through the digestive tract, which may help keep you feeling full longer. It is also linked to lower cholesterol and increased insulin sensitivity, important factors in the development of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Both diets had the same amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, and insoluble fiber. Continue reading

Rising Colorectal Cancer Rates Among the Young; Prevention Key

Over the past three decades there’s been a slight but steady decline in colorectal cancer incidence here in the US, thanks in large part to increased screening. Now a study out this week showing that rates of this cancer are increasing among young people — below the typical screening age — highlights the importance of people of all ages adopting healthy behaviors that can halve the risk of colorectal cancer.Picture 83

The study – published in JAMA Surgery – found that among 20- to 34-year-olds, the data indicates incidence of colon and rectal cancer will increase by 90% and 124%, respectively, by 2030. Among the 35 to 49 year olds, rates are estimated to increase by 28% and 46%, respectively.

This large study confirms previous research on incidence trends, and it points to a growing public health problem, the authors note. Lifestyle and behavioral factors such as obesity may be a possible cause.

AICR estimates that half of all colorectal cancer cases are preventable if people were to eat healthier diets, move more and stay lean.

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Potatoes: Bad Guys or Cancer-Fighters?

Read an article about foods you shouldn’t eat and white potatoes may well be on the list. The starchy staple is linked in some studies to overweight and obesity and we lag far behind in getting enough non-starchy veggies, like leafy greens, summer squash, broccoli and colorful peppers, all shown to lower risk for several kinds of cancer. But are potatoes so nutrition-poor we should never eat them?

Potatoes’ bad nutritional reputation probably stems more from how we are eating them, rather than the spud itself. share-of-potato-sources-for-us-consumersA recent report from the USDA Economic Research Service shows that, depending on where we eat them, one-third to two-thirds of our potatoes are chips or fries. Even at home, we eat potatoes as chips more than any other way.

Consider that a small serving of fries or chips is double the small potato’s calories, 10 times the fat and less than half the vitamin C. We just need to re-think the potato on our plate, not eliminate. Continue reading