Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Extra-virgin olive oil appears to lower cancer risk substantially

There are plenty of good reasons to use extra-virgin olive oil as your main kitchen oil, and one of the lesser known ones is a reduced risk of cancer of all causes.  In Mediterranean countries where olive oil is used generously and frequently, cancer is less common, and it doesn’t appear to be a coincidence.  A review of 19 observational studies following about 37,000 people found a consistent relationship between olive oil use and cancer incidence: a 34% lower risk of any cancer in those who used the most olive oil!  (The benefit was strongest for breast and colon cancers.)  We are not aware of any data suggesting comparable benefit for other vegetable oils. [1]
My recommendation:
Use extra-virgin olive oil as your main kitchen oil and avoid hydrogenated oils and highly-processed vegetable oils.  For more information on the health benefits of olive oil and why we should avoid highly-processed oils see pages 26, and 47-48 in Good Food, Great Medicine (3rd edition).  You’ll also find tips for choosing an extra-virgin olive oil on page 115 and about 100 recipes to get you started. 

Miles Hassell MD

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Can drinking alcohol help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes?

It is commonly believed that drinking alcohol will worsen blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes but the evidence shows otherwise.   In an analysis of the available randomized studies that compared patients with diabetes who drank alcohol with those that did not, alcohol was found to make no difference to blood sugar control [1].  Furthermore, there are important potential benefits for moderate alcohol intake (up to one drink daily) in patients with type 2 diabetes:

§  Better sleep and improved markers of cardio-metabolic risk control, especially with red wine [2]

§  Less risk of death from any cause [3]

§  Less heart disease and stroke [3]

§  Less risk of kidney disease [4]

In addition, for people without type 2 diabetes, moderate alcohol consumption significantly reduced the risk of developing diabetes [5] and has anti-inflammatory benefits. [6]

My recommendation:
For those who can avoid drinking to excess, with or without type 2 diabetes, one 5-ounce serving of red wine with a meal remains a reasonable choice. For more information on alcohol and health, see Good Food, Great Medicine (3rd edition) page 39.

Miles Hassell MD