Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Intentional Weight Loss to Lower Cancer Risks

Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between obesity and cancer. Indeed, according to epidemiologic studies, there are at least 11 cancers that are associated with obesity. However, an important question is the following: Can intentional weight loss lower the risk of cancer? And a recent study appears to indicate that for some demographics, the answer is yes.

Most experts agree that a healthy diet, physical activity and healthy lifestyle changes will likely contribute to lowering the risk of many illnesses, including cancer. Along with the above-mentioned behaviors, to lower cancer risk, an individual should abstain from the use of alcohol, or limit alcohol consumption. And the study, mentioned above, sheds light on the effects of intentional weight loss in cancer risk reduction.

The study looked at postmenopausal women’s weight and waist circumference at baseline, and three years later. There were 50,667 subjects in the study. Since a 5% weight loss has been shown to have health benefits for some disease conditions, a 5% weight loss was used in the study. The following three subject categories were established for the study: Individuals who intentionally lost at least 5% of their weight or waist circumference (WC), individuals who unintentionally lost 5% of their weight, and individuals who lost or gained less than 5% of their weight.

The investigators concluded that for the postmenopausal women who had at least a 5% intentional weight loss, the cancer risk was reduced compared to those women who unintentionally lost at least 5% of their weight or WC, and compared to those women who lost or gained less than 5% of their weight or WC.

So this study does indicate that intentional weight loss can lower cancer risk— at least in postmenopausal women. And since intentional weight loss of at least 5% has been proven to be beneficial in other health areas for most demographic groups, it is quite possible that a 5% intentional weight loss or WC loss may lower cancer risk for demographic groups other than postmenopausal women.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Gut Microbiota, Eating Patterns and Prediabetes

Gut microbiota, which include bacteria, fungi and viruses, have been found to influence obesity and other metabolic diseases. For example, gut bacteria diversity appears to be important for weight management and metabolic health. One study demonstrated that the diversity can influence obesity, because individuals with the least gut bacteria diversity are more prone to be obese. Another study indicated that a low level of gut bacteria diversity can give rise to insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes. And a more recent study has shown that there is a relationship between gut microbiota abundance, eating patterns, and prediabetes.

The study was done in Sweden. The investigators looked at 1726 subjects ranging in age from 18 to 71 years old. The group was 55% women, and the mean BMI of the group was 25.5. No one in the group had diabetes. Two food patterns were used to determine the relationship between diet, prediabetes prevalence, and gut microbiota composition. One of the food patterns was called the “Health-conscious” pattern, and the other food pattern was called the “Sugar and High-Fat Dairy” pattern. Examining fecal microbiota from the gut was part of the analysis.

The investigators found that for subjects that followed the "Health-conscious" eating pattern, there was a lower level of prediabetes. And there was a higher level of prediabetes for the women who followed the “Sugar and High-Fat Dairy” eating pattern.

For those subjects that followed the “Health-conscious” eating pattern, there was an abundance of gut microbiota that differed in amount from the microbiota found in the subjects that followed the “Sugar and High-Fat Dairy” eating pattern. This was especially true for the type of gut microbiota called Roseburia. For those subjects who followed the “Sugar and High-Fat Dairy” pattern, there was no significant amount of this type of microbiota in the fecal material.

Therefore, the abundance of microbiota -- in this case Roseburia -- is important for good metabolic health, including possibly lowering the risk of prediabetes. So, gut bacteria amount and diversity may be essential for good health.


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