CLOSING NOTES

People

JOHN INTINI September 15 2003
CLOSING NOTES

People

JOHN INTINI September 15 2003

Study debunks peanut rap

Peanuts may not be as much of a dietary no-no as previously thought. In fact, regularly eating the nut may even help prevent heart disease.

In a small study, researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., found adding peanuts to the diet decreased levels of fat particles called triglycerides in the blood. A high triglyceride level is a risk factor for heart disease.

Fifteen people participated in the three-part study. In one part, they cut their dietary fat intake by 500 calories and replaced those calories with 500 calories worth of peanuts (about three ounces). In the second trial, they ate their regular diet plus 500 calories worth of peanuts. In the third, individuals could add peanuts to their diet in any way they chose.

In all three trials, triglyceride levels dropped significantly—in some cases by as much as 24 per cent. And there was no significant weight gain, despite the fact that people consumed up to an additional 500 calories of peanuts per day for eight weeks.

High blood sugar increases cancer risk

People at high risk for developing the adult form of diabetes are also at increased risk of dying from cancer, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The Baltimore researchers looked at people with a closely related condition called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), in which the blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

In the study, people with IGT were almost twice as likely to die from any cancer—and more than four times as likely to die from colon cancer—as those with normal glucose tolerance.

The study examined data from more than 3,000 adults aged 30 to 74 years who underwent diabetes testing as part of a long-term study that began in the 1970s.

In a June/July survey of more than 1,000 Canadian adults, two-thirds gave the health-care system either an A (27 per cent) or a B grade (40 per cent). That's a slight improvement over 2002, when 23 per cent gave the system an A and 40 per cent gave it a B. This year, 24 per cent gave the system a C and nine per cent stuck it with an F.

(Source: Third Annual Canadian Medical Association Report Card on the Health System in Canada)

Of the 737 deaths that occurred during the study period, 206 were from cancer. People with IGT were 1.87 times more likely to die from cancer than those with normal glucose tolerance.