Analysis: That Supplement May Not Protect Against Cancer, Heart Disease

For cancer prevention, the evidence is pretty clear: vitamins, minerals and other supplements alone don’t work. Not relying on supplements is one of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention — a recommendation made after analyzing the global SuppsInFishShaperesearch.

Now a review of the research supports this conclusion, finding that many popular supplements do not protect against both cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in America. At least among healthy individuals. And some supplements may possibly cause harm among certain groups of people. The report was published by the US Preventive Task Force, an update to their 2003 report with similar findings.

The analysis reviewed all the new evidence since the last report, collecting only “good quality” studies. At the end of it, there were 26 new studies.

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Vegan, DASH, Mediterranean: What’s a Dieter to Do?

How many different eating patterns – or types of diet – can you name?

I just returned from the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and canstockphoto15257697Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), where I was invited to speak about the research on dietary patterns and the practical take-home messages that stem from that research. AACVPR is a multidisciplinary group of health professionals who help people recover following a heart attack, heart surgery or chronic respiratory disease.

Just as in studies of diet and cancer risk, research related to heart disease increasingly emphasizes that it’s not individual nutrients or even specific foods, but overall eating patterns that make a key difference. Conference attendees included physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists and dietitians. All hear patient questions about the Mediterranean diet, vegan diet, DASH diet and more, including confusion over headlines that identify each of these as “best”.

So what’s the best diet? I was speaking to a room so over-filled with health professionals wanting to hear about this that conference organizers set up a “satellite room” for the overflow. Continue reading

Health and Your Metabolic Health: Does Obesity Matter?

Should obese people who are metabolically healthy be advised to lose weight?

Risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer all increase with excess body fat. Yet research has identified two unique groups: those who are obese but metabolically healthy, and those who are a healthy weight but metabolic unhealthy. This was the topic of a sesscanstockphoto2174868ion I especially looked forward to attending at last month’s American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.

Metabolic health matters when it comes to cancer. Inflammation and the elevated insulin levels that come with insulin resistance are believed to promote cancer development.

Metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) refers to people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more (for someone who is 5’6” tall, weight of at least 186 pounds) yet don’t have the metabolic abnormalities that typically accompany obesity. There’s not yet a standard definition for MHO, but usually a person with MHO has no more than one of the following: diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol. Studies generally report from 3 to 20 percent of obese people meet criteria to be classified as metabolically healthy. Continue reading