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BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 24 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:693
  1. Alison Tonks (, associate editor

Acrylamide in popular foods does not cause breast cancer

Researchers have been looking for a link between acrylamide and human cancer since it was found in many of our favourite foods, including chips, bread, crisps, crackers, pancakes, and coffee. They haven't found one yet, and a recent cohort study that found no association between acrylamide intake and risk of breast cancer provides further reassurance. The study included 43 404 middle aged Swedish women who were followed up for 11 years after answering detailed questions about their diet. Overall they had a low dietary intake of acrylamide, most of which came from coffee (54% of intake) and chips (12%). After adjustment for a wide range of confounders, the women who consumed the most acrylamide were no more likely to get breast cancer than the women who consumed the least (figure) (relative risk for top fifth compared with bottom fifth 1.19, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.55)

Credit: JAMA

JAMA 2005;293: 1326-7

Low carbohydrate diet improves glycaemic control in obese people with type 2 diabetes

In a small metabolic study, 10 men and women with obesity and type 2 diabetes lost weight and improved their glycaemic control by going on a strict Atkins diet for 14 days. The participants were admitted to a hospital metabolic ward, where researchers then drastically reduced their carbohydrate intake to 21 g/day but allowed them free access to high protein and high fat foods such as beef burgers, turkey burgers, fish, butter, eggs, and cream. They were also allowed steamed or raw vegetables.

After 14 days the participants had each lost about 2 kg in weight, most of which was fat, and accounted for by a reduction in calorie intake of about a third. Their mean HbA1c fell from 7.3% to 6.8% (P = 0.006), and mean fasting plasma concentrations of glucose fell from 7.5 mmol/l to 6.3 mmol/l (P = 0.025). Insulin sensitivity improved by about 75%, and …

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