Tag Archives: Diet

Simple way to boost cancer survival rates: diet and exercise, studies say

A healthy diet and exercise could reduce colon cancer patients’ chance of death and simply walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, studies presented at the world’s largest cancer conference have found.

A study of nearly 1,000 colon cancer patients found that those who exercised regularly, ate more fruits and vegetables and avoided refined grains and meats had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

Similarly, a study of more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors who aimed to exercise for 180 minutes per week – most by simply walking – had far better rates of survival than those who were not part of an exercise program.

The studies were presented amidst a slew of research on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“Most of what we know about the importance of exercise post-cancer comes from studying women with breast cancer,” said Sandra Hayes, an epidemiologist studying cancer and exercise at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and other types of cancer, she said, held up a general set of findings.

“Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less,” Hayes said.

Researchers acknowledged that studies on the effects of exercise and cancer recurrence remain epidemiological, and that causal links are yet to be established. Further, the mechanisms through which exercise may influence cancer survival remain “unclear”.

In one study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco and colleagues aimed to test whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors could impact survival among colon cancer patients.

In general, the guidelines recommend moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight. The ACS has detailed guidelines for nutritional and exercise standards for cancer survivors, addressing everything from exercise to eating recommendations forthose who have little appetite.

Researchers found that even colon cancer survivors who drank moderately while following other guidelines had a 42% lower chance of dying than those that did not.

“I would recommend that patients build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week,” said the senior author, Erin Van Blarigan, an epidemiologist at University of California San Francisco. “Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Van Blarigan said she was surprised by the strong correlation between healthy diet, exercise and lowered mortality.

“These recommendations can be applied within whatever diet type an individual prefers,” she said. “The key is finding foods that fit the recommendations that you enjoy, so you can continue this pattern of eating for the long term.”

In a smaller study, Hayes and colleagues in Australia randomly assigned more than 300 breast cancer survivors to groups that received exercise counseling or to a control group.

All patients were six weeks out of surgery, and lived in both rural and urban settings. The exercise program lasted eight months. The goal was to exercise 180 minutes per week. Most of the participants, researchers said, chose simply to walk.

After a median follow-up of roughly eight years, researchers found 5.3% of the women who had received exercise counseling had died, versus 11.5% of those who had not received counseling. Similarly, 12.1% of women in the group that received exercise counseling had a recurrence of cancer, versus 17.7% of those who did not.

The researchers said an exercise program after treatment “has clear potential to influence survival”.

Simple way to boost cancer survival rates: diet and exercise, studies say

A healthy diet and exercise could reduce colon cancer patients’ chance of death and simply walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, studies presented at the world’s largest cancer conference have found.

A study of nearly 1,000 colon cancer patients found that those who exercised regularly, ate more fruits and vegetables and avoided refined grains and meats had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

Similarly, a study of more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors who aimed to exercise for 180 minutes per week – most by simply walking – had far better rates of survival than those who were not part of an exercise program.

The studies were presented amidst a slew of research on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“Most of what we know about the importance of exercise post-cancer comes from studying women with breast cancer,” said Sandra Hayes, an epidemiologist studying cancer and exercise at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and other types of cancer, she said, held up a general set of findings.

“Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less,” Hayes said.

Researchers acknowledged that studies on the effects of exercise and cancer recurrence remain epidemiological, and that causal links are yet to be established. Further, the mechanisms through which exercise may influence cancer survival remain “unclear”.

In one study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco and colleagues aimed to test whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors could impact survival among colon cancer patients.

In general, the guidelines recommend moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight. The ACS has detailed guidelines for nutritional and exercise standards for cancer survivors, addressing everything from exercise to eating recommendations forthose who have little appetite.

Researchers found that even colon cancer survivors who drank moderately while following other guidelines had a 42% lower chance of dying than those that did not.

“I would recommend that patients build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week,” said the senior author, Erin Van Blarigan, an epidemiologist at University of California San Francisco. “Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Van Blarigan said she was surprised by the strong correlation between healthy diet, exercise and lowered mortality.

“These recommendations can be applied within whatever diet type an individual prefers,” she said. “The key is finding foods that fit the recommendations that you enjoy, so you can continue this pattern of eating for the long term.”

In a smaller study, Hayes and colleagues in Australia randomly assigned more than 300 breast cancer survivors to groups that received exercise counseling or to a control group.

All patients were six weeks out of surgery, and lived in both rural and urban settings. The exercise program lasted eight months. The goal was to exercise 180 minutes per week. Most of the participants, researchers said, chose simply to walk.

After a median follow-up of roughly eight years, researchers found 5.3% of the women who had received exercise counseling had died, versus 11.5% of those who had not received counseling. Similarly, 12.1% of women in the group that received exercise counseling had a recurrence of cancer, versus 17.7% of those who did not.

The researchers said an exercise program after treatment “has clear potential to influence survival”.

Simple way to boost cancer survival rates: diet and exercise, studies say

A healthy diet and exercise could reduce colon cancer patients’ chance of death and simply walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, studies presented at the world’s largest cancer conference have found.

A study of nearly 1,000 colon cancer patients found that those who exercised regularly, ate more fruits and vegetables and avoided refined grains and meats had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

Similarly, a study of more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors who aimed to exercise for 180 minutes per week – most by simply walking – had far better rates of survival than those who were not part of an exercise program.

The studies were presented amidst a slew of research on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“Most of what we know about the importance of exercise post-cancer comes from studying women with breast cancer,” said Sandra Hayes, an epidemiologist studying cancer and exercise at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and other types of cancer, she said, held up a general set of findings.

“Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less,” Hayes said.

Researchers acknowledged that studies on the effects of exercise and cancer recurrence remain epidemiological, and that causal links are yet to be established. Further, the mechanisms through which exercise may influence cancer survival remain “unclear”.

In one study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco and colleagues aimed to test whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors could impact survival among colon cancer patients.

In general, the guidelines recommend moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight. The ACS has detailed guidelines for nutritional and exercise standards for cancer survivors, addressing everything from exercise to eating recommendations forthose who have little appetite.

Researchers found that even colon cancer survivors who drank moderately while following other guidelines had a 42% lower chance of dying than those that did not.

“I would recommend that patients build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week,” said the senior author, Erin Van Blarigan, an epidemiologist at University of California San Francisco. “Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Van Blarigan said she was surprised by the strong correlation between healthy diet, exercise and lowered mortality.

“These recommendations can be applied within whatever diet type an individual prefers,” she said. “The key is finding foods that fit the recommendations that you enjoy, so you can continue this pattern of eating for the long term.”

In a smaller study, Hayes and colleagues in Australia randomly assigned more than 300 breast cancer survivors to groups that received exercise counseling or to a control group.

All patients were six weeks out of surgery, and lived in both rural and urban settings. The exercise program lasted eight months. The goal was to exercise 180 minutes per week. Most of the participants, researchers said, chose simply to walk.

After a median follow-up of roughly eight years, researchers found 5.3% of the women who had received exercise counseling had died, versus 11.5% of those who had not received counseling. Similarly, 12.1% of women in the group that received exercise counseling had a recurrence of cancer, versus 17.7% of those who did not.

The researchers said an exercise program after treatment “has clear potential to influence survival”.

Simple way to boost cancer survival rates: diet and exercise, studies say

A healthy diet and exercise could reduce colon cancer patients’ chance of death and simply walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, studies presented at the world’s largest cancer conference have found.

A study of nearly 1,000 colon cancer patients found that those who exercised regularly, ate more fruits and vegetables and avoided refined grains and meats had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

Similarly, a study of more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors who aimed to exercise for 180 minutes per week – most by simply walking – had far better rates of survival than those who were not part of an exercise program.

The studies were presented amidst a slew of research on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“Most of what we know about the importance of exercise post-cancer comes from studying women with breast cancer,” said Sandra Hayes, an epidemiologist studying cancer and exercise at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and other types of cancer, she said, held up a general set of findings.

“Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less,” Hayes said.

Researchers acknowledged that studies on the effects of exercise and cancer recurrence remain epidemiological, and that causal links are yet to be established. Further, the mechanisms through which exercise may influence cancer survival remain “unclear”.

In one study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco and colleagues aimed to test whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors could impact survival among colon cancer patients.

In general, the guidelines recommend moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight. The ACS has detailed guidelines for nutritional and exercise standards for cancer survivors, addressing everything from exercise to eating recommendations forthose who have little appetite.

Researchers found that even colon cancer survivors who drank moderately while following other guidelines had a 42% lower chance of dying than those that did not.

“I would recommend that patients build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week,” said the senior author, Erin Van Blarigan, an epidemiologist at University of California San Francisco. “Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Van Blarigan said she was surprised by the strong correlation between healthy diet, exercise and lowered mortality.

“These recommendations can be applied within whatever diet type an individual prefers,” she said. “The key is finding foods that fit the recommendations that you enjoy, so you can continue this pattern of eating for the long term.”

In a smaller study, Hayes and colleagues in Australia randomly assigned more than 300 breast cancer survivors to groups that received exercise counseling or to a control group.

All patients were six weeks out of surgery, and lived in both rural and urban settings. The exercise program lasted eight months. The goal was to exercise 180 minutes per week. Most of the participants, researchers said, chose simply to walk.

After a median follow-up of roughly eight years, researchers found 5.3% of the women who had received exercise counseling had died, versus 11.5% of those who had not received counseling. Similarly, 12.1% of women in the group that received exercise counseling had a recurrence of cancer, versus 17.7% of those who did not.

The researchers said an exercise program after treatment “has clear potential to influence survival”.

Simple way to boost cancer survival rates: diet and exercise, studies say

A healthy diet and exercise could reduce colon cancer patients’ chance of death and simply walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, studies presented at the world’s largest cancer conference have found.

A study of nearly 1,000 colon cancer patients found that those who exercised regularly, ate more fruits and vegetables and avoided refined grains and meats had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

Similarly, a study of more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors who aimed to exercise for 180 minutes per week – most by simply walking – had far better rates of survival than those who were not part of an exercise program.

The studies were presented amidst a slew of research on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“Most of what we know about the importance of exercise post-cancer comes from studying women with breast cancer,” said Sandra Hayes, an epidemiologist studying cancer and exercise at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and other types of cancer, she said, held up a general set of findings.

“Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less,” Hayes said.

Researchers acknowledged that studies on the effects of exercise and cancer recurrence remain epidemiological, and that causal links are yet to be established. Further, the mechanisms through which exercise may influence cancer survival remain “unclear”.

In one study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco and colleagues aimed to test whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors could impact survival among colon cancer patients.

In general, the guidelines recommend moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight. The ACS has detailed guidelines for nutritional and exercise standards for cancer survivors, addressing everything from exercise to eating recommendations forthose who have little appetite.

Researchers found that even colon cancer survivors who drank moderately while following other guidelines had a 42% lower chance of dying than those that did not.

“I would recommend that patients build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week,” said the senior author, Erin Van Blarigan, an epidemiologist at University of California San Francisco. “Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Van Blarigan said she was surprised by the strong correlation between healthy diet, exercise and lowered mortality.

“These recommendations can be applied within whatever diet type an individual prefers,” she said. “The key is finding foods that fit the recommendations that you enjoy, so you can continue this pattern of eating for the long term.”

In a smaller study, Hayes and colleagues in Australia randomly assigned more than 300 breast cancer survivors to groups that received exercise counseling or to a control group.

All patients were six weeks out of surgery, and lived in both rural and urban settings. The exercise program lasted eight months. The goal was to exercise 180 minutes per week. Most of the participants, researchers said, chose simply to walk.

After a median follow-up of roughly eight years, researchers found 5.3% of the women who had received exercise counseling had died, versus 11.5% of those who had not received counseling. Similarly, 12.1% of women in the group that received exercise counseling had a recurrence of cancer, versus 17.7% of those who did not.

The researchers said an exercise program after treatment “has clear potential to influence survival”.

Simple way to boost cancer survival rates: diet and exercise, studies say

A healthy diet and exercise could reduce colon cancer patients’ chance of death and simply walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, studies presented at the world’s largest cancer conference have found.

A study of nearly 1,000 colon cancer patients found that those who exercised regularly, ate more fruits and vegetables and avoided refined grains and meats had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

Similarly, a study of more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors who aimed to exercise for 180 minutes per week – most by simply walking – had far better rates of survival than those who were not part of an exercise program.

The studies were presented amidst a slew of research on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“Most of what we know about the importance of exercise post-cancer comes from studying women with breast cancer,” said Sandra Hayes, an epidemiologist studying cancer and exercise at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and other types of cancer, she said, held up a general set of findings.

“Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less,” Hayes said.

Researchers acknowledged that studies on the effects of exercise and cancer recurrence remain epidemiological, and that causal links are yet to be established. Further, the mechanisms through which exercise may influence cancer survival remain “unclear”.

In one study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco and colleagues aimed to test whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors could impact survival among colon cancer patients.

In general, the guidelines recommend moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight. The ACS has detailed guidelines for nutritional and exercise standards for cancer survivors, addressing everything from exercise to eating recommendations forthose who have little appetite.

Researchers found that even colon cancer survivors who drank moderately while following other guidelines had a 42% lower chance of dying than those that did not.

“I would recommend that patients build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week,” said the senior author, Erin Van Blarigan, an epidemiologist at University of California San Francisco. “Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Van Blarigan said she was surprised by the strong correlation between healthy diet, exercise and lowered mortality.

“These recommendations can be applied within whatever diet type an individual prefers,” she said. “The key is finding foods that fit the recommendations that you enjoy, so you can continue this pattern of eating for the long term.”

In a smaller study, Hayes and colleagues in Australia randomly assigned more than 300 breast cancer survivors to groups that received exercise counseling or to a control group.

All patients were six weeks out of surgery, and lived in both rural and urban settings. The exercise program lasted eight months. The goal was to exercise 180 minutes per week. Most of the participants, researchers said, chose simply to walk.

After a median follow-up of roughly eight years, researchers found 5.3% of the women who had received exercise counseling had died, versus 11.5% of those who had not received counseling. Similarly, 12.1% of women in the group that received exercise counseling had a recurrence of cancer, versus 17.7% of those who did not.

The researchers said an exercise program after treatment “has clear potential to influence survival”.

Simple way to boost cancer survival rates: diet and exercise, studies say

A healthy diet and exercise could reduce colon cancer patients’ chance of death and simply walking could improve survival rates for breast cancer survivors, studies presented at the world’s largest cancer conference have found.

A study of nearly 1,000 colon cancer patients found that those who exercised regularly, ate more fruits and vegetables and avoided refined grains and meats had a 42% lower chance of death after seven years.

Similarly, a study of more than 300 Australian breast cancer survivors who aimed to exercise for 180 minutes per week – most by simply walking – had far better rates of survival than those who were not part of an exercise program.

The studies were presented amidst a slew of research on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“Most of what we know about the importance of exercise post-cancer comes from studying women with breast cancer,” said Sandra Hayes, an epidemiologist studying cancer and exercise at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and other types of cancer, she said, held up a general set of findings.

“Engaging in some activity [or] exercise is better than none, and doing more is generally better than less,” Hayes said.

Researchers acknowledged that studies on the effects of exercise and cancer recurrence remain epidemiological, and that causal links are yet to be established. Further, the mechanisms through which exercise may influence cancer survival remain “unclear”.

In one study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco and colleagues aimed to test whether American Cancer Society (ACS) nutrition and exercise guidelines for cancer survivors could impact survival among colon cancer patients.

In general, the guidelines recommend moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and keeping a healthy body weight. The ACS has detailed guidelines for nutritional and exercise standards for cancer survivors, addressing everything from exercise to eating recommendations forthose who have little appetite.

Researchers found that even colon cancer survivors who drank moderately while following other guidelines had a 42% lower chance of dying than those that did not.

“I would recommend that patients build up to exercising for at least 150 minutes per week,” said the senior author, Erin Van Blarigan, an epidemiologist at University of California San Francisco. “Brisk walking is a great exercise for everyone. I would also recommend that patients aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables every day, not counting potatoes, and choose whole grains over refined grains.”

Van Blarigan said she was surprised by the strong correlation between healthy diet, exercise and lowered mortality.

“These recommendations can be applied within whatever diet type an individual prefers,” she said. “The key is finding foods that fit the recommendations that you enjoy, so you can continue this pattern of eating for the long term.”

In a smaller study, Hayes and colleagues in Australia randomly assigned more than 300 breast cancer survivors to groups that received exercise counseling or to a control group.

All patients were six weeks out of surgery, and lived in both rural and urban settings. The exercise program lasted eight months. The goal was to exercise 180 minutes per week. Most of the participants, researchers said, chose simply to walk.

After a median follow-up of roughly eight years, researchers found 5.3% of the women who had received exercise counseling had died, versus 11.5% of those who had not received counseling. Similarly, 12.1% of women in the group that received exercise counseling had a recurrence of cancer, versus 17.7% of those who did not.

The researchers said an exercise program after treatment “has clear potential to influence survival”.

‘Pro-vegetarian’ diet could halve chance of obesity

A diet which reduces or even excludes meat and animal produce in favour of vegetables, fruit and grains could halve people’s chances of becoming obese, according to new research.

A study carried out in Spain describes the benefits of what researchers call a “pro-vegetarian” diet which does not exclude meat and dairy products but reduces them. It has also been called a “flexitarian” diet – basically vegetarian, with meat and fish consumed occasionally.

Some 16,000 university graduates were tracked from 1999 for 10 years, by which time 584 were obese, according to findings presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal.

At the beginning of the study, participants completed detailed food questionnaires which were scored to establish how pro-vegetarian their diet was. They got more points for eating from seven plant food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, olive oil, legumes (such as peas, beans, and lentils) and potatoes.

Points were then deducted for foods from five animal groups – animal fats, dairy, eggs, fish and other seafood, and meat.

The researchers compared the 20% whose diet included the most animal products with the 20% who ate the least. They found that those whose diet was the most vegetarian were 43% less likely to become obese.

Although fish was included in the animal foods group, the results showed that there was very little difference in the amount of fish that any of the participants ate, so had little impact on obesity rates.

But there was a significant difference in the amount of meat eaten – those who ate most consumed about 200g a day (roughly the weight of a small chicken breast or a seven ounce steak), while those who ate least consumed 142g. There was an even larger difference in the consumption of vegetables – 348g in the meat-eating group and 731g for those whose diet was the most vegetarian. The same applied to fruit consumption – 191g versus 531g.

“Our recommendation is to eat less meat,” said Prof Maira Bes-Rastrollo, one of the authors. “Don’t increase the consumption of animal foods. Prefer plant-based foods to animal foods.”

The study’s weakness is that it is observational – it did not recruit people eating a mainly vegetarian diet in order to compare them with a group of meat eaters, nor did it attempt to change the behaviour of participants.

The pro-vegetarian diet in the study is very similar to the Mediterranean diet. Gaynor Bussell, a dietician and member of the British Dietetic Association said: “We have known for a while that a healthy plant-based diet is associated with less obesity and this new evidence confirms this.

“Other factors could be accounting for the lower obesity in this group; I would also add that although scored negatively, foods such as fish, some meat and dairy are not associated with obesity but it is about the overall balance of the diet. The Mediterranean diet with its reliance on fruit, veg, nuts, beans and little meat is probably an ideal mix and is also associated with lower obesity rates.”

Sarah Toule from the World Cancer Research Fund said: “A mainly plant-based diet not only helps reduce obesity risk, but our own evidence shows it helps reduce your cancer risk too.

“Eating more portions of vegetables and fruit, cooking from scratch and including a wide variety of colours on your plate are all good ways to improve your diet.”

Gluten-free diet carries increased obesity risk, warn experts

Substituting everyday staples with gluten-free foods could increase the risk of obesity, experts have warned, after finding that such products often contain higher levels of fats than the food they aim to replace.

A gluten-free diet is essential to those with coeliac disease – an auto-immune condition that is thought to affect 1% of Europeans – while the regime is also proving increasingly popular among those without the disease. But while a host of gluten-free products are on the market, researchers have said they have a very different nutritional make-up to conventional staples.

“There is very little [consumers] can do about it,” said Joaquim Calvo Lerma of the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe in Spain and co-author of the research. “Unfortunately consumers can [only] eat what is available on the market.”

Calvo Lerma’s warning comes after he and his and colleagues compared 655 conventional food products to 654 gluten-free alternatives across 14 food groups including breads, pasta, breakfast cereals, biscuits and even ready meals, covering a range of brands.

The results – presented at the annual meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition – reveal that, overall, gluten-free products were more energy-dense than their conventional counterparts.

The team found that, on average, gluten-free bread loaves had more than twice the fat of conventional loaves, while gluten-free breads in general had two to three times less protein than conventional products. Gluten-free biscuits were also found to be lower in protein but higher in fat, while gluten-free pasta had lower levels of sugar and just half of the protein of standard pasta.

Calvo Lerma warned that gluten-free foods could be contributing to an increased risk of obesity, particularly among children who are more likely to eat products like biscuits and breakfast cereals. He urged consumers to compare gluten-free products across brands to find those with the lowest fat content.

Calvo Lerma also called on manufacturers to innovate. “It is the responsibility of the food industry to produce these type of gluten-free products from other materials that are much healthier or have a [more] enhanced nutritional profile than the current raw materials being used, like cornflour or potato starch,” he said, pointing out that healthier products could be made, for example, using grains such as buckwheat or amaranth.

He added that manufacturers should also add more complete and clearer labels to products to highlight their nutritional content, including levels of vitamins and minerals.

Benjamin Lebwohl, from the coeliac disease centre at Columbia University, who was not involved in the research, said that the study backs up previous evidence that gluten-free foods are nutritionally suboptimal. But while a gluten-free diet is essential for coeliacs, it is not intrinsically healthy or unhealthy, he added. “It depends on the choices you make as part of the gluten-free diet,” he said.

Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK, said the latest findings tie in with the charity’s own research, adding that further development of lower-fat, gluten-free products would be welcomed.

David Sanders, professor of gastroenterology at the University of Sheffield, noted that other studies have found gluten-free and conventional foods to have similar nutritional value. “The jury is out,” he said.

But Sanders cautioned that there is no evidence a gluten-free diet has benefits for those without gluten sensitivity or coeliac disease. “Once you go into the territory of dietary restrictions without medical symptoms then you are running the gauntlet of missing out on various vitamins or minerals without realising it,” he said.

Diet has a vital role to play in dealing with the menopause | Letters

While I applaud publicising and myth-busting the menopause (“I just coped, as others do: breaking the silence about the menopause”, In Focus), I am sorry that nowhere in the article did you mention diet as a means of dealing with menopausal side-effects.

The beginning of my menopause was a nightly sheet-wringing affair and daily having to pull over in the car to urgently strip off before I melted. About that time, I exchanged meat and dairy products for tofu and soya milk alternatives. Soon afterwards, the sweats subsided, then stopped. I thought I was one of the lucky ones, but I then learned that an oriental diet, low in meat and dairy and high in soya, which contains phytoestrogens, was the more likely reason. Menopause is not an illness, it’s a fact of life, and the reaction to administer drugs to treat the symptoms is sad.

In the early days of my transition, I found that suddenly stripping off in public places for an impending hot flush was best dealt with an: “Excuse me, I’m having a menopausal!” and laughing. Since laughing is infectious, everyone laughed with me (albeit sometimes nervously).
Stephanie Fuger
Matlock, Derbyshire

Nazis knew the BBC’s power

There has never been much doubt about the integrity and quality of the BBC’s wartime broadcasts to Nazi Germany. Their significance for that nebulous entity, “the German people”, is less certain (“How the BBC’s truth offensive beat Hitler’s propaganda machine”, News).

Nazi propaganda succeeded in seducing huge sections of the German population, especially among the young, while a draconian law passed at the outbreak of the war imposed such heavy penalties on listeners to foreign broadcasts, including capital punishment for passing on such information, that it was likely to discourage all but the most intrepid anti-Nazi.

Its most consistent and attentive listener was Hitler’s minister of information, Joseph Goebbels, who, sensing the potential danger, refused even high-ranking Nazi colleagues permission to listen to the BBC. Nazi terror ensured that even in the last stages of a clearly lost war “the German people” would stage no uprisings against their moribund overlords.

The BBC’s German Service failed in its mission to enlighten the misguided “German people”. The listeners to this splendid service were people like my Nazi-hating mother, who took huge comfort from the knowledge that beyond the confines of their now so deadly country was another world that cared and would fight to overcome the evil that gripped Germany.
Carla Wartenberg
London NW3

Heavy weather, Nick

It seems that whatever Nick Cohen writes about, he has set himself the task of inserting at least one gratuitous swipe at the left wing of the Labour party. If he was asked to write the Observer’s weather forecast, he’d probably find a way of blaming them for every approaching thunderstorm.

Last week, for instance, writing about George Soros and the Hungarian government, he managed to contrive a reference to what he described as “the Labour left’s claim that Hitler was a Zionist”. That’s quite a sweeping, damaging accusation, apparently aimed at the whole of the Labour left. Yet the recent crude, insensitive and provocative suggestion by Ken Livingstone that Hitler “was supporting Zionism” was widely condemned by Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and most of that very same “Labour left”.
John Marais
Cambridge

MacKenzie is his own nemesis

I agree with Barbara Ellen’s piece “Read all about it. MacKenzie is no man of the people” (Comment). However, I would go further as Kelvin MacKenzie displays the classic symptoms of addictive behaviour, whereby someone has compulsive patterns of behaviour and cannot help themselves.

MacKenzie has made a few of these ill-advised stands, making ridiculous pronouncements since his terrible stance on Hillsborough and one has to have some compassion for the man who is on a self-destruct mission. These desperate attempts to keep himself in the frame are another form of attention-seeking. Of course, the management of the Sun should have put themselves, any sub-editors, the editor and any journalists party to the piece before publication on gardening leave immediately, without waiting to see the reaction.
Martin Sandaver
Hay-on-Wye

Enough of this codswallop

Your business leader column on corporate speak reminded me that it is not only the corporate world that suffers from meaningless jargon intended to fool the listener/reader into believing that something meaningful has been uttered.

Corporate speak is spoken by those who wish to exclude from their conversations those who are not deemed suitable to be admitted to their heady heights. Nowhere is this more manifest than in the corridors of government and civil administration. They are all talking codswallop to each other, but no one has the cojones to be the first to admit that they do not understand what has been said.
Paul F Faupel
Somersham, Cambridgeshire