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What Do You Eat and Drink? Diet Cancer Links

Recently there has been a great awareness of the relationship between the diet we eat and cancer. This is important because unlike other risk factors for cancer, it is a very controllable risk factor. Many are interested in knowing the relationship between certain foods, or nutrients, and certain types of them. There has been extensive research on this topic but to date no studies have provided the final word on this topic. Any new research findings need to be evaluated in the larger context of the existing evidence so it is not recommended that you make dietary modifications based on a single published study.

Alcoholic cancer link

Findings from various research publications have shown that alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer. Alcohol increases the risk of developing various forms including cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, throat, liver, and breast, and possibly colon and rectum. It should be noted here that moderate amounts of alcohol have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack. Therefore, it is suggested that those who drink alcohol should do this moderately. It is recommended that men limit their alcohol intake to a maximum of two drinks per day and women should limit their alcohol intake to one drink per day. It should be noted that the combination of alcohol and tobacco has a greater impact on this risk than the use of either of these agents. Women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer may be advised to refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages.

Antioxidants and cancer protection

Some products of normal metabolism can damage the tissues and damage can increase the risk of cancer. Some nutrients called antioxidants are very important to protect the body from harmful metabolic products produced in the body. These antioxidants are found in many fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and some phytochemicals. This is consistent with the observation that people, who eat more vegetables and fruits, may have a lower risk for some types of cancer. Antioxidant supplements have not been proven to reduce this risk and more studies are underway. The best advice is to take lots of fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of many types of cancer.

Aspartame cancer link

Aspartame is used in many low calorie drinks as an artificial sweetener. There has been some controversy about aspartam risks associated with increased risk but current evidence does not support any relationship between aspartam use and increased cancer risk.

Beta-carotene protection and cancer

Beta-carotene, is an antioxidant and is chemically linked to vitamin A. These antioxidants are abundant in vegetables and fruits. For some time scientists believed that high doses of beta-carotene supplementation could reduce the risk of cancer. Recent published studies suggest that this may not be true. In both studies, showing high beta carotene levels actually increased the risk and the third study found no benefit or danger to them. Consuming vegetables and fruits containing beta-carotene may still be helpful, but high doses of beta-carotene should not be taken.


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