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Calorie-Cancer Link Explored

Low-calorie consumption could reduce your risk

If you're getting more calories than you need, you not only run the risk of obesity, you also might increase your chance of developing cancer.

An article from the BBC says scientists have developed a mathematical model to show how fast-growing cancer cells need more calories to survive than normal, healthy cells. The experts are not quite sure what this means for the human body because they have not conducted clinical trials. And, they say, starving yourself is not a good strategy to avoid cancer.

But the link between an unhealthy diet and cancer has been established before. Researchers will now try to determine whether eating only what is necessary is a factor in controlling cancer. Most cancer cells, researchers say, have high energy needs. If they have a limited energy supply, they can't grow faster than the rest of the body and they will die, the story says.

Experts say they plan to test the thesis in clinical trials by examining the effect of different dietary regimes on the growth of tumors. Preliminary studies on rats with prostate cancer showed that those on a reduced-calorie diet had smaller tumors than rats who ate large amounts of food. Those findings reinforce evidence that shows people who live in countries where calorie consumption is lower have less cancer than those who live in countries with high calorie intake. This is particularly true of bowel and breast cancers, according to the story.

Although most successful diets call for gradual weight loss that can be sustained, in some cases a very-low-calorie diet is called for. To find out when that is appropriate and how it works, you can read this article from the National Institute of Digestive and Kidney Disorders. To get information on more traditional diets, you can read this information from Better Homes & Gardens.

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