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By David Morgan – Wed Sep 23, 2:16 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A diet high in a form of sugar found in sweetened soft drinks and junk food raises blood pressure among men, according to research likely to mean more bad news for beverage companies and restaurant chains.

One of two studies released on Wednesday provided the first evidence that fructose helps raise blood pressure. It also found that the drug allopurinol, used to treat gout, can alleviate the effect by reducing uric acid levels in the body.

The second study, which measured fructose intake in mice, suggested that people who consume junk foods and sweetened soft drinks at night could gain weight faster than those who don’t.

“These results suggest that excessive fructose intake may have a role in the worldwide epidemic of obesity and diabetes,” said Dr. Richard Johnson of the University of Colorado-Denver, who studied the link between blood pressure and men.

The findings provide the latest evidence of ties between sugar-rich diets and health problems that have prompted some experts to call for a tax on sugary soft drinks.

Fructose accounts for about half the sugar molecules in table sugar and in high-fructose corn syrup, the sweetener used in many packaged foods.

Johnson and colleagues at the Mateo Orfila Hospital in Spain studied 74 men given 200 grams of fructose per day on top of their regular diet. That amount is well above a daily intake of 50 grams to 70 grams of fructose consumed by most American adults.

Half the men were also given allopurinol.

After two weeks, the men who received only the fructose registered increases of six millimeters in systolic blood pressure — the top reading — and about three millimeters in diastolic or the bottom reading, the researchers told an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.

REVERSIBLE EFFECT

Most of their blood pressure readings returned to normal levels after two months.

The men who did not get allopurinol also were twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome, measured by risk factors such as too much abdominal fat, high blood pressure and poor cholesterol readings.

By contrast, those given allopurinol and fructose had significantly lower uric acid levels, and virtually no increase in systolic blood pressure or higher risk of metabolic syndrome.

For the second study, researchers in Ohio studied mice given fructose water to drink. Some had unrestricted access, while others received it during the day or at night.

“The first thing we noticed was that the mice on restricted access rushed to their drinking bottles to load up on the sweetened beverage, similar to teenagers who drink too many soft drinks,” said Mariana Morris of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

The mice that drank fructose water during their regular daylight sleeping hours gained more weight and had higher stress hormone levels than the other mice.

“This model may be similar to the human condition of night time bingeing of fructose-laden foods and beverages,” Morris said.

The American Heart Association says women should eat no more than 100 calories of added processed sugar per day, or six teaspoons (25 grams), while most men should keep it to just 150 calories or nine teaspoons (37.5 grams). On average Americans consume 22 teaspoons (90 grams) or 355 calories of added sugar each day.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Xavier Briand)

http://health.yahoo.com/news/reuters/us_heart_fructose.html

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brocolli

By Peter Jaret

April 13, 2000
Web posted at: 2:25 PM EDT (1825 GMT)

(WebMD) — Who would have thought that of all the brightly colored exotic offerings in the produce aisle — from curvy, golden-yellow peppers to inky purple eggplants — homely broccoli would become the superstar?

It’s true: In the category of most healthful vegetable, this cruciferous contender wins all the top honors.

This past February, when the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a paper that listed foods most likely to prevent colon cancer, what stood out? Broccoli. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston published an article in the same journal last October and noted that broccoli, along with spinach, helped to minimize risk for cataracts.

When another team of Harvard scientists looked at how diet might protect against stroke, broccoli’s benefits again came to the fore, in research published in the October 6, 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nutritious — and then some

When it comes to basic nutrients, broccoli is a mother lode. Ounce for ounce, boiled broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk, according to the USDA’s nutrient database. One medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. Broccoli is also one of the richest sources of vitamin A in the produce section.

But the real surprise is this vegetable’s potent cancer-fighting components.

At the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, food chemist Dr. Paul Talalay has gone so far as to name his lab after “Brassica,” the genus that includes broccoli and cauliflower. Talalay and his team at the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory have discovered that broccoli is rich in substances called isothiocyanates — chemicals shown to stimulate the body’s production of its own cancer-fighting substances, called “phase two enzymes.” According to Talalay, these enzymes, in turn, neutralize potential cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to damage the DNA of healthy cells.

To test broccoli’s cancer-fighting power, Talalay fed rats hearty servings of the vegetable for a few days and then exposed them to a potent carcinogen known to trigger a form of breast cancer in the animals. Broccoli-munching rats were half as likely to develop tumors as animals on standard chow, according to results published in the April 1994 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

“Even those rats that did develop cancer ended up with fewer and smaller tumors, which is an important advantage in itself,” says Talalay.

More recently, scientists at Tokyo’s Graduate School of Agriculture have shown that isothiocyanates can block the growth of melanoma skin cancer cells, according to findings published in 1999 in the journal “Nutrition and Cancer.”

Good news for broccoli haters

If you don’t like broccoli, take heart: In 1997, Talalay and his researchers at Hopkins discovered to their surprise that broccoli sprouts, the week-old seedlings of the mature plant, are exceptionally rich in a form of isothiocyanate called sulforaphane — 10 to 100 times as rich as broccoli itself, in fact. More and more markets now carry the tender shoots, which are delicious on sandwiches and salads.

And keep in mind that broccoli is just one of many members of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy — all of which appear to help protect against cancer.

When scientists at the World Cancer Research Fund reviewed 206 human and 22 animal studies, they found convincing evidence that cruciferous vegetables in general lowered risk for many forms of the disease, including tumors of the stomach, esophagus, lung, oral cavity and pharynx (throat), endometrium (lining of the uterus), pancreas, and colon.

How to enrich your diet

Need ideas for adding more of these vegetables to your diet?

Cauliflower makes a delicious addition to pasta primavera. Use penne pasta and you can boil the cauliflower and the noodles together — both require the same amount of cooking time.

Chopped red cabbage is a great addition to salads or chili. And if you’re not familiar with kale, try it in the savory Portuguese soup called caldo verde: Peel and finely chop two pounds of potatoes and boil for two minutes. Then add one bunch of chopped kale (about 6 to 8 cups) and cook for two more minutes. Season with a little salt and a splash of olive oil and you’re ready to eat.

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/FOOD/news/04/13/broccoli.benefits.wmd/

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