Cancer

The Oxford Vegetarian Study: an overview.

The Oxford Vegetarian Study is a prospective study of 6000 vegetarians and 5000 nonvegetarian control subjects recruited in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1984. Cross-sectional analyses of study data showed that vegans had lower total- and LDL-cholesterol concentrations than did meat eaters; vegetarians and fish eaters had intermediate and similar values. Meat and cheese consumption were positively associated, and dietary fiber intake was inversely associated, with total-cholesterol concentration in both men and women.

Vegan proteins may reduce risk of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease by promoting increased glucagon activity.

Amino acids modulate the secretion of both insulin and glucagon; the composition of dietary protein therefore has the potential to influence the balance of glucagon and insulin activity. Soy protein, as well as many other vegan proteins, are higher in non-essential amino acids than most animal-derived food proteins, and as a result should preferentially favor glucagon production.

Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: vegetarian diets.

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Approximately 2.5% of adults in the United States and 4% of adults in Canada follow vegetarian diets. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat, fish, or fowl. Interest in vegetarianism appears to be increasing, with many restaurants and college foodservices offering vegetarian meals routinely.

A moderately low phosphate intake may provide health benefits analogous to those conferred by UV light - a further advantage of vegan diets.

Although exposure to ultraviolet light is often viewed as pathogenic owing to its role in the genesis of skin cancer and skin aging, there is growing epidemiological evidence that such exposure may decrease risk for a number of more serious cancers, may have a favorable impact on blood pressure and vascular health, and may help to prevent certain autoimmune disorders - in addition to its well-known influence on bone density. Most likely, these health benefits are reflective of improved vitamin D status.

Nutrient adequacy of a very low-fat vegan diet.

This study assessed the nutrient adequacy of a very low-fat vegan diet. Thirty-nine men (mean age=65 years) with early stage prostate cancer who chose the "watchful waiting" approach to disease management, were instructed by a registered dietitian and a chef on following a very low-fat (10%) vegan diet with the addition of a fortified soy protein powdered beverage. Three-day food diaries, excluding vitamin and mineral supplements, were analyzed and nutrient values were compared against Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). Mean dietary intake met the recommended DRIs.

Diet, vegetarian food and prostate carcinoma among men in Taiwan.

In a case-control study in a veterans hospital in Taiwan, we compared 237 histology-confirmed prostate carcinoma cases with 481 controls, frequency matched by age, for their consumption of vegetarian food, namely soybean products, rice, wheat protein and other vegetables. The multivariable logistic regression analysis showed a significant association with such food (odds ratio (OR)=0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.47, 0.94). This beneficial effect presented for men with body mass index (BMI) < or =25 kg m(-2) (OR=0.50, 95% CI=0.32, 0.76) but not for men with greater BMI.

Potential attenuation of disease progression in recurrent prostate cancer with plant-based diet and stress reduction.

A rising level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), after primary surgery or radiation therapy, is the hallmark of recurrent prostate cancer and is often the earliest sign of extraprostatic spread in patients who are otherwise asymptomatic. While hormonal therapy may slightly extend survival in a minority of patients, it is not curative and produces side effects including hot flashes, decreased libido, and loss of bone mass. Alternatively, dietary modification may offer an important tool for clinical management.

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