Diet / Gene Interaction

Meat consumption, colon cancer, and your genes

The link between colon cancer and meat consumption has been trumpeted by vegetarians and refuted by paleo fanatics. My question, as usual, is: "What role does genetics play?" The World Health Organization includes processed meat on their list of probable carcinogens. This is based on several large epidemiological studies that show processed meat consumption increases colon cancer risk by 18-20%! Putting the statistics into perspective: According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of colon cancer is around 5%, and increasing that risk by around 20% would give a lifetime risk of about 6%. This statistical risk is based on epidemiologic studies of the population as a whole and doesn't take into account individual genetic variants that can increase - or decrease - the risk of colong cancer..   (more…)

By Debbie Moon, ago
Diet / Gene Interaction

Digesting Carbohydrates: Amylase variants

Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth with an enzyme called amylase.  Saliva mixes with your food as you chew it, and the amylase in saliva begins breaking down carbohydrates into simple sugars.  Amylase is also produced by the pancreas and used for further breaking down carbs in the small intestines. Amylase isn't the only enzyme involved in breaking down carbohydrates; it is just the first step.  Amylase helps convert starches eventually into maltose or maltotriose, which are then converted by the enzymes maltase into glucose in the small intestines. Glucose then is utilized by the body for energy production.   (Vampire bats are the only mammals not to produce maltase) (more…)

By Debbie Moon, ago


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