is associated with increased all-cause mortality, diabetes, and certain types of cancer (including pancreatic and colorectal).
What is not exactly known is what the effect of poor adherence to the Mediterranean diet in the form of excess meat intake is on breast cancer risk in women.
A new study published in the journal Meat Science aimed to add a little more clarity to this issue by studying the effect of meat consumption on breast cancer in Greek women.
250 newly-diagnosed women with breast cancer (average age 56+/-12 years) were recruited for this study, as well as 250 age-matched controls without breast cancer.
Face-to-face interviews were conducted to obtain information regarding: socio-demographics, clinical, lifestyle, and dietary habits. For meat consumption habits, data for red, white, processed, and grilled meat were collected. Dietary habits were assigned scores based adherence to the Mediterranean diet using the MedDietScore.
The USDA recently released new dietary guidelines, part of which highlight the importance of reducing sugar intake.
One source of excessive sugar intake seen across the globe (and particularly in a Western-style diet) is in sugary drinks, including soft drinks. Soft drinks have been linked to increase abdominal fat, leading to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and other dietary-based diseases.
A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition: Nutritional Epidemiology examined the relationship between nonalcoholic beverage consumption on waistline measurements and odds of obesity in Spanish adults.
2181 participants were followed for 10 years and were between the ages of 25 and 74. Weight, height, waist circumference, dietary and exercise habits were determined using self-reported questionnaires.
Beverages included in the analysis were: soft drinks (including carbonated soft drinks), fruit juice, whole milk, skim milk, and low-fat milk.
100kcal increase in daily soft drink consumption was associated with 1.1cm increase in waist circumference.
Swapping out the daily 100kcal in soft drinks with 100kcal of whole milk or 100kcal of fruit juice was associated with a 1.3 and 1.1cm decrease in waist circumference, respectively.
Increasing soft drink consumption led to increases in waist circumference compared to abstaining from consuming soft drinks all together.
Increased soft drink consumption was positively associated with an increased risk of obesity.
Overall, this study indicates that daily soft drink consumption is positively associated with the waistlines of Spanish adults. In other words, consuming soft drinks daily led to increased waist circumference and also increased risk of obesity over a 10 year period.
Important to note: there are about 140 kcal in one can of regular soda, so according to this study, it takes less than one can of soft drinks per day to increase waist circumference in adults.
The study did not distinguish between diet and “regular” soft drinks.
The results of this study support the new USDA dietary guidelines and suggest that excess sugar intake, particularly in the form of daily soft drink consumption, should be avoided.
Prostate cancer in men is a world-wide problem and has many risk factors from environmental to genetic and finally to lifestyle. Specifically, some risk factors for prostate cancer include: old age,
ethnicity, family history/genetics, lifestyle factors, and diet.
Some studies have observed dietary fats may influence prostate cancer risk, particularly related to the Western-style diet and the omega-6 and animals fats are prevalent compared with the so-called “good” fats related to the Mediterranean diet (olive oil fats, omega-3, etc). Specifically, it is dietary fats that have been implicated in DNA damage related to cancer risk.
A new study published in the journal Nutrients aimed to evaluate dietary fat intake through diets like the Mediterranean diet and the Western diet, and compare consumption of these diets to inflammation markers and DNA damage in men with prostate cancer.
20 men with prostate cancer (Gleason scores between 6 and 7) were recruited for this study.
Blood samples were collected at the beginning of the study, as well as 3 months later. Fatty acid profiles and DNA damage was evaluated from blood samples.
Dietary information prior to the beginning of the study was collected via questionnaire.
During the study, all participants were given a strict diet based on the Mediterranean diet, and were provided with all meals throughout the 3 month experiment.
Light to moderate exercise was encouraged, and participants were required to not each or drink anything that was not allowed based on experimental protocol.
Adherence to the experimental Mediterranean-style diet was determined via questionnaire.
DNA damage levels were correlated with dietary fat sources:
DNA damage was negatively correlated with adherence to the experimental Mediterranean-style diet, whole blood monounsaturated fatty acids, and oleic acid.
DNA damage was positively correlated with consumption of dairy products, red meat, and whole blood omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The results of this study indicate that dietary fats associated with a Western-style diet are correlated with greater DNA damage in men
with prostate cancer. On the other hand, those men with prostate cancer adhering strictly to a Mediterranean-style diet had lowest levels of DNA damage.
Problems with this study: the sample size was incredibly small. With only 20 participants, the results of this study are only preliminary and would need a much larger sample size to be more confident in the results.
Also, there were NO controls in this study. Basic scientific experimental design dictates that there should always be a control (preferably more than one!), or else the results are virtually meaningless.
While the results of this study are interesting and indicate that the adherence to the Mediterranean diet is correlated with less DNA damage in men with prostate cancer, these results should be taken with a grain of salt due to the omission of a control group.
The Mediterranean diet is frequently touted as having many heart healthy benefits to those who stick to it. Specifically, research has
shown that adherence to the Mediterranean diet improves lipid profiles, including increased “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and reduced “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), reduced triglycerides, and reduced total cholesterol.
A new study in the journal Revista Española deCardiología aimed to add more evidence to the growing pile by exploring the dietary patterns of Spanish adults and associations with their plasma lipid profiles.
A total of 1290 Spanish adults were included in this study. Diet and exercise patterns were determined by self-reported questionnaires. Previous hospitalizations and family disease history were also collected.
Blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed for: fasting serum glucose, total glucose, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting serum insulin, and whole blood glycated hemoglobin.
Greater adherence to a Western-style diet (more red meats, sweets, fast-food, etc.) was associated with the lowest levels of “good” cholesterol, and the highest levels of “bad” cholesterol.
Greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet (more veggies, fish, nuts, olive oil, etc) was associated with higher levels of “good” cholesterol, and a lower ratio of triglycerides to “good” cholesterol.
The results of this study add to the growing mountain of evidence
supporting the benefits of the Mediterranean diet on heart health. According to these results, Spanish adults with good adherence to the Mediterranean diet had better plasma lipid profiles than those sticking to a Western-style diet. Specifically, those eating a Mediterranean diet had greater levels of “good” cholesterol compared with those eating a Western-style diet.
When you think of the Mediterranean diet and other diets in general, you tend to think of the health impacts on those that eat it. One thing that does not always come to mind is how specific diet choices affect the environment. In this time of climate change, understanding how diet choices impact the environment, and in particular carbon emissions or “carbon footprints”, is just as important as how it affects us as individuals.
A new study in the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy
aimed to evaluate the carbon footprints of various diets in the setting of a Spanish hospital, in a preliminary attempt to possibly provide menu change recommendations in other industries.
Diet data was collected from Juan Ramón Jiménez Hospital in Huelva, Spain. In addition to the typical diet found at this hospital (one weeks’ worth in the winter), information on 17 other therapeutic diets published by Benidorm Clinical Hospital was used for this analysis.