Some types of vegetarian diet can raise heart disease risk

Researchers divided diets into 'healthful' and 'unhealthful' categories

“Being vegetarian isn’t always healthy: Plant-based diet may raise the risk of heart disease,” the Daily Mail reports. A US study found a vegetarian diet based on less healthy food options, such as refined grains, could increase the risk of heart disease.

The researchers behind the latest study made the point that many previous diet and health studies “lumped together” all types of vegetarian diets as plant-based, without considering the actual content of specific diets. And not all plant-based diets are healthy and nutritious.

The researchers looked at data involving 200,000 health workers from the US and tried to analyse any link between diet and coronary heart disease.

Overall a high plant-based diet wasn’t linked with a clear benefit for heart disease risk compared with a low plant-based/high meat-based diet.

When the plant-based diets were broken down and analysed further, the researchers found interesting differences.

Those eating a “healthy” plant-based diet high in wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats were less likely to get heart disease than people eating “unhealthy” plant-based diets including foods like potatoes, refined grains and sweets.

While the study can’t rule out the possibility that other health and lifestyle factors such as stress, job type and education could have influenced the links, the association between unhealthy plant-based diets and heart disease is plausible.

The diet advice for vegetarians is the same for everyone else: eat a balanced diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, eat less sugar, salt, and saturated fat, and choose wholegrain carbohydrates where possible.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, AbbVie (a pharmaceutical company), and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, all in the US. It was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, US Department of Agriculture/Blueberry Highbush Council and the California Walnut Commission, and Metagenic. One author has served on the Scientific Advisory Committees of IKEA, Take C/O, and SPE, and another is also an employee of AbbVie.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The Daily Mail’s reporting was generally accurate, but the statement claiming “refined grains and potatoes lead to a higher risk of cardio-metabolic disease” is not entirely representative. These were just two of a wide variety of foods included in the “unhealthy plant-based diet.” Neither does this statement account for the fact that there may be many other health and lifestyle factors other than diet contributing to coronary heart disease risk.

What kind of research was this?

This was a study pooling data from three large cohort studies of health professionals. It aimed to see whether consuming a plant-based diet or a diet including meat was associated with risk of coronary heart disease.

Coronary heart disease is the general term used to describe when the arteries supplying the heart become clogged by a build-up of fatty substances. Complete blockage of the arteries causes heart attack, a major cause of death both in the UK and worldwide.

A prospective cohort study is a good way of looking at the link between an exposure (such as diet) and an outcome (like heart disease) as you can examine a large number of people over a long period of time.

However, you are unable to control the diets or all other lifestyle factors that could be having an influence, such as smoking and exercise. A randomised controlled trial would be needed for this, but it is not really possible to make sure people stick to a specific diet for a long period of time.

What did the research involve?

The research included:

  • 73,710 women (aged 30 to 55 years) involved in the Nurses’ Health Study (1984 to 2012)
  • 92,329 women (aged 25 to 42 years) involved in the Nurses’ Health Study 2 (1991 to 2013)
  • 43,259 men (aged 40 to 75 years) taking part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2012)

This study only included participants who, at the start of the study, did not have coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Information on diet was collected every two to four years using a food frequency questionnaire. Participants recorded how often on average they consumed a specified portion of any of 130 food items in the past year. This ranged from “never or less than once a month” to “six or more times a day”.

Three versions of a plant-based diet were created from these questionnaires based on intake of 18 main food groups:

  • An overall plant-based diet index (PDI) was created by assigning positive scores to plant foods and reverse scores to animal foods.
  • A “healthful plant-based diet index” (hPDI) was created by giving positive scores to healthy plant foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, oils and tea. Both animal foods and less healthy plant foods such as juices, refined grains, fries and sweets received a negative score.
  • An “unhealthful plant-based diet” (uPDI) was created by giving positive scores to less-healthy plant foods, such as sweets, cakes, chips and crisps, and scores to animal and healthy plant-based foods.

The researchers looked at participant reports of coronary heart disease during follow-up assessments, and validated this through checking medical records. Deaths were identified through next of kin and a search of the US National Death Index.

Results were adjusted for the following confounding factors:

  • smoking
  • age
  • physical activity
  • alcohol
  • multivitamin use
  • family history of coronary heart disease
  • margarine intake
  • energy intake
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • body mass index
  • post-menopausal hormone use and oral contraceptive use in women

What were the basic results?

During follow-up 8,631 people developed coronary heart disease.

High adherence to an overall plant-based diet (PDI) showed a trend for reduced risk compared to low adherence to a PDI and a mainly animal-based diet, but this fell just short of statistical significance (hazard ratio [HR] 0.92, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83 to 1.01).

However, when analysing “healthful” versus “unhealthful” plant-based diets separately:

  • Highest adherence to the healthy plant-based diet reduced risk of heart disease by 25% compared with a low adherence to this diet (i.e. consuming an unhealthy plant-based diet, including meat) (HR 0.75, 95% CI 0.68 to 0.83).
  • Highest adherence to an unhealthy plant-based diet increased risk of heart disease by 32% compared with lowest adherence to this diet (i.e. consuming a healthy plant-based diet, including meat) (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.46).

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that a “higher intake of a plant-based diet index rich in healthier plant foods is associated with substantially lower CHD risk, whereas a plant-based diet index that emphasizes less-healthy plant foods is associated with higher CHD risk.”

They further add that “dietary guidelines and lifestyle interventions could recommend increasing intake of healthy plant foods, while reducing intake of less healthy plant foods and certain animal foods for improved cardiometabolic health.”

Conclusion

This large pooled cohort study seems to demonstrate an association between a healthy plant-based diet and reduced risk of coronary heart disease, and an increased risk of heart disease with an unhealthy plant-based diet.

This adds to the evidence base supporting the possible benefits of healthy plant-based diets in protecting against certain illnesses. However there are some limitations to the research:

  • The cohort included only health professionals from the US so might not be representative of wider populations in the UK or elsewhere.
  • The study can’t provide information on the benefits or otherwise of this diet in people with established coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer as these people were excluded.
  • The questionnaire was self-reported and asked for recall of food habits over the previous year so there might be some inaccuracies in reporting. Also, people might not want to admit to consuming less healthy foods – although if unhealthy foods were under-reported, this could have meant an even bigger difference in results.
  • Heart disease outcomes were mainly self-reported and then verified, so some cases may have been missed.
  • Although analyses adjusted for various health and lifestyle factors, there are likely to be many other confounding variables influencing likelihood of coronary heart disease, such as education, occupation or stress levels.

Nevertheless the study supports general understanding about the benefits of wholegrains, fruits and vegetables and healthy sources of fat.

Eating a purely plant-based, but unhealthy, diet may be good for your conscience but not so good for the heart.

Read more about healthy vegetarian diets.

Analysis by Bazian

Edited by NHS Choices

Links to the headlines

Being vegetarian isn’t always healthy: Plant-based diet may raise the risk of heart disease. Daily Mail, July 18 2017

Vegetarian diets can lead to higher risk of heart disease, finds study. The Independent, July 17 2017

Links to the science

Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Spiegelman D, et al. Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

[Source:-.nhs.uk]

How does a high-fat diet raise colorectal cancer risk?

Image result for How does a high-fat diet raise colorectal cancer risk?A new study suggests a molecular explanation for the link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer.
While the evidence of a link between an unhealthful diet and colorectal cancer is robust, the underlying mechanisms for this association have been unclear. A new study, however, may have uncovered an explanation.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio have identified a cellular signaling pathway, called JAK2-STAT3, that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon in response to a high-fat diet.

What is more, the researchers found that blocking the JAK2-STAT3 pathway in mice fed a high-fat diet halted the growth of these stem cells, a finding that might fuel the development of new drugs to treat colorectal cancer.

Study co-author Dr. Matthew Kalady, co-director of the Comprehensive Colorectal Cancer Program at the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

After skin cancer, colorectal cancer – a cancer that begins in the colon or rectum – is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.

The American Cancer Society estimate that there will be 95,520 new cases of colon cancerdiagnosed in the U.S. this year, as well as 39,910 new cases of rectal cancer.

In recent years, a wealth of studies have suggested that a high-fat diet is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. However, the precise mechanisms behind this association have been ambiguous.

With the hope of shedding light on such mechanisms, Dr. Kalady and colleagues investigated how a high-fat diet influences JAK2-STAT3, a cellular signaling pathway known to promote tumorgrowth.

Findings may fuel new treatments

To reach their findings, the researchers used microrarray analysis to assess primary and metastasized tumors in mouse models of colorectal cancer.

When the mice were fed a high-fat diet, the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon increased. Studies have indicated that cancer stem cells are a key driver in the growth and metastasis of tumors.

On further investigation, the team found that blocking the JAK2-STAT3 cellular signaling pathway in the rodents reversed the increase in cancer stem cell growth triggered by a high-fat diet.

When analyzing the effects of a high-fat diet in colorectal cancer mouse models that were obesity-resistant, the researchers were able to replicate their findings.

Dr. Kalady says that this study is the first to demonstrate how a specific molecular pathway might mediate the link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer, a discovery that could yield new treatments for the disease.

We can now build upon this knowledge to develop new treatments aimed at blocking this pathway and reducing the negative impact of a high-fat diet on colon cancer risk.”

Dr. Matthew Kalady

“These findings also provide a new way in which cancer stem cells are regulated and provide insight into how environmental influences, such as diet, can alter cancer stem cell populations in advanced cancers,” adds study co-author Justin D. Lathia, Ph.D., of the Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

[“Source-medicalnewstoday”]

World Health Organisation Urges Countries To Raise Taxes On Sugary Drinks

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World Health Organisation Urges Countries To Raise Taxes On Sugary Drinks

WHO says taxing sugary drinks could help reduce consumption of sugars. (Representational Image)

GENEVA:  The UN health agency on Tuesday recommended that countries use tax policy to increase the price of sugary drinks like sodas, sport drinks and even 100-percent fruit juices as a way to fight obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

The World Health Organization, in a statement timed for World Obesity Day, said that the prevalence of obesity worldwide more than doubled between 1980 and 2014, when nearly 40 percent of people globally were overweight.

In a 36-page report on fiscal policy and diet, WHO also cited “strong evidence” that subsidies to reduced prices for fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve diets. It said that tax policies that lead to a 20-percent increase in the retail prices of sugary drinks would result in a proportional reduction in consumption.

Drawing on lessons from campaigns to fight tobacco use, WHO says imposing or increasing taxes on sugary drinks could help lower consumption of sugars, bringing health benefits and more income for governments such as to pay for health services. The health agency has long recommended that people keep intake of sugar to less than 10 percent of their total energy needs.

“Consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes,” says Dr. Douglas Bettcher, who heads WHO’s department for preventing non-communicable diseases. “If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives.”

 WHO officials say that the US is no longer the leading consumer of sugar-sweetened beverages – Chile and Mexico are now in front. They also noted rapid increase in consumption like China and sub-Saharan Africa. At least three in five adolescents in countries like Chile, Argentina and Algeria consume soft drinks daily, compared to between 20 to 40 percent in the US and much of Europe.

“Taxation policies can be a very important tool – just one tool among many – but a very important tool for the reduction of sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, who heads WHO’s Department for Nutrition and Health. He pointed to “pioneering” efforts by Michael Bloomberg, during his time as mayor of New York, and other US officials to reduce sugar consumption.

The report was based on information collected in May last year, but WHO is coming forward with its recommendation on Tuesday because the evidence of the link between tax policy and reduced consumption coupled with health benefits have only recently emerged, said Temo Waqanivalu, coordinator of WHO’s department for the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Waqanivalu said that “discussion is ongoing” with companies behind such beverages on efforts to reduce sugar consumption.

source”cnbc”

World Health Organisation Urges Countries To Raise Taxes On Sugary Drinks

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World Health Organisation Urges Countries To Raise Taxes On Sugary Drinks
WHO says taxing sugary drinks could help reduce consumption of sugars. (Representational Image)
GENEVA: The UN health agency on Tuesday recommended that countries use tax policy to increase the price of sugary drinks like sodas, sport drinks and even 100-percent fruit juices as a way to fight obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

The World Health Organization, in a statement timed for World Obesity Day, said that the prevalence of obesity worldwide more than doubled between 1980 and 2014, when nearly 40 percent of people globally were overweight.

In a 36-page report on fiscal policy and diet, WHO also cited “strong evidence” that subsidies to reduced prices for fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve diets. It said that tax policies that lead to a 20-percent increase in the retail prices of sugary drinks would result in a proportional reduction in consumption.

Drawing on lessons from campaigns to fight tobacco use, WHO says imposing or increasing taxes on sugary drinks could help lower consumption of sugars, bringing health benefits and more income for governments such as to pay for health services. The health agency has long recommended that people keep intake of sugar to less than 10 percent of their total energy needs.

“Consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes,” says Dr. Douglas Bettcher, who heads WHO’s department for preventing non-communicable diseases. “If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives.”
WHO officials say that the US is no longer the leading consumer of sugar-sweetened beverages – Chile and Mexico are now in front. They also noted rapid increase in consumption like China and sub-Saharan Africa. At least three in five adolescents in countries like Chile, Argentina and Algeria consume soft drinks daily, compared to between 20 to 40 percent in the US and much of Europe.

“Taxation policies can be a very important tool – just one tool among many – but a very important tool for the reduction of sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, who heads WHO’s Department for Nutrition and Health. He pointed to “pioneering” efforts by Michael Bloomberg, during his time as mayor of New York, and other US officials to reduce sugar consumption.

The report was based on information collected in May last year, but WHO is coming forward with its recommendation on Tuesday because the evidence of the link between tax policy and reduced consumption coupled with health benefits have only recently emerged, said Temo Waqanivalu, coordinator of WHO’s department for the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Waqanivalu said that “discussion is ongoing” with companies behind such beverages on efforts to reduce sugar consumption..

source”cnbc”

Dental Fillings Raise Mercury Levels In Body: Study

Dental Fillings Raise Mercury Levels In Body: Study

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Dental Fillings Raise Mercury Levels In Body: Study
Photo for representational purpose only.
People with more than eight dental fillings may have 150 per cent more mercury in their blood, increasing the risk of brain, heart and kidney damage, a new study has found.

Dental surface restorationsor, commonly known as dental fillings, is composed of dental amalgam – a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and other metals.

The research by University of Georgia in the US, analysed data from nearly 15,000 individuals and is the first to demonstrate a relationship between dental fillings and mercury exposure.

“Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases. I think a majority of people have experienced dental fillings, but the kind of materials the dentist uses is not something that is really discussed,” said lead author Lei Yin, a scientist at University of Georgia.

Mercury exposure from dental fillings is not a new concern, but previous studies were inconsistent and limited said Xiaozhong Yu, assistant professor at University of Georgia.

“This study is trying to provide the most accurate levels of exposure, which will form the scientific basis to make future risk assessment,” said Yu.

It was the first study to control for age, education, ethnicity, race, gender, smoking and seafood consumption, which also contributes to mercury levels in the body, he said.

Researchers further analysed exposure by specific types of mercury and found a significant increase in methyl mercury, which is the most toxic form, related to dental fillings.
Yu said this result suggests the human gut microbiota, a collection of microorganisms living in the intestines, may transform different types of mercury.

Dental amalgam has been the go-to dental filling material for more than 150 years, because it is affordable and durable. However, about half of the compound contains mercury, a heavy metal known to be toxic at high levels, causing brain, heart, kidney, lung and immune system damage.

New research suggests that methyl mercury may cause damage even at low levels.

“As toxicologists, we know that mercury is poison, but it all depends on the dose. If you have one dental filling, maybe it is ok. But if you have more than eight dental filings, the potential risk for adverse effect is higher,” Yu said.

People with numerous dental fillings who are also exposed to mercury from other sources, such as seafood or work environments, are most at risk.

The results show that individuals with more than eight fillings had about 150 per cent more mercury in their blood than those with none.

The study also looked at dental composite resins, a mercury-free alternative for dental fillings that can release small amounts of bisphenol A which may cause developmental or reproductive damage.

The research appears in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.

source”cnbc”

Mobile-app game to raise funds for slum children

Slum children

In a great noble gesture to humanity, a 17-year-old-boy from Gurgaon developed a mobile app games to raise funds to provide education for the poor children dwelling in the slum areas. The developer, Ranvijay Singh, is a commerce student of Suncity School in Gurgaon.

How did Singh come up with the idea?

“While travelling to the school every day, I see a number of children wasting time playing games on the roadsides. I wanted to educate them and help them live a good life. Though I and my school friends used to teach the children during our free time, we needed books and other stationary. It was during this time that the idea of earning money came to my mind,” said Ranvijay Singh.

All about the game:

    • The adventurous game called ‘Rope Dash’ is an application which is compatible to both Android and iOS
  • The mobile-based application available in both free and payable versions was launched in July this year
  • With the money he earned, Singh successfully bought stationary and books for the young slum dwellers nearby his neighbourhood in Gurgaon Sector 53
  • The boy has so far collected only 25 per cent return on what he had invested.

The promising Ranvijay, while speaking to HT, said he wish to educate more underprivileged slum children as an entrepreneurs.

source”gsmarena”