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Low protein, low calorie diet reduces cancer risk

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Friday June 14, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that long term low-protein, low-calorie diet and endurance exercise can reduce cancer risk.

Luigi Fontana from Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO and Istituto Superiore di Sanitá, Rome, Italy and colleagues conducted the study and found some cancer biomarkers including serum concentrations of insulin, free sex hormones, leptin, and C-reactive protein were lower in people who used a low protein, low calorie diet and engaged in physical activity (running), compared with those who used a Western diet and did not do much of physical exercise.

The researchers also found those using the low protein, low calorie diet and exercising had sex higher serum concentrations of hormone–binding globulin, compared with those using a Western diet and not doing physical exercise.

These two findings indicate that a low protein, low calorie diet and physical exercise helped lower the risk of cancer.
Those who ate low protein, low calorie diet and doing physical exercise had a lower body mass index, compared to those using the Western diet.

Additionally, "plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and the concentration ratio of IGF-I to IGF binding protein 3 were lower in the low-protein, low-calorie diet group (139 ± 37 ng/mL and 0.033 ± 0.01, respectively) than in the runner (177 ± 37 ng/mL and 0.044 ± 0.01, respectively) and sedentary Western (201 ± 42 ng/mL and 0.046 ± 0.01, respectively) diet groups (P < 0.005)."

The researchers concluded "Exercise training, decreased adiposity, and long-term consumption of a low-protein, low-calorie diet are associated with low plasma growth factors and hormones that are linked to an increased risk of cancer. Low protein intake may have additional protective effects because it is associated with a decrease in circulating IGF-I independent of body fat mass." (reporting by Jimmy Downs)

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