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Alcohol may boost risk of cancer

Scientists have discovered that breakdown of alcohol by the body forms a substance that can damage DNA dramatically and increase chances of cancer, with people of Asian descent at a greater risk.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that when human body breaks down, or metabolises, the alcohol in beer, wine and hard liquor, one of the substances formed is acetaldehyde, a substance with a chemical backbone that resembles formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.

Scientists also have known from laboratory experiments that acetaldehyde can cause DNA damage, trigger chromosomal abnormalities in cell cultures and act as an animal carcinogen.

“We now have the first evidence from living human volunteers that acetaldehyde formed after alcohol consumption damages DNA dramatically,” Silvia Balbo, who led the study, said.

“Acetaldehyde attaches to DNA in humans - to the genetic material that makes up genes - in a way that results in the formation of a ‘DNA adduct,” Balbo added.

Cup of tea with sandwich best way to keep cool

Having a cup of tea with a cucumber sandwich is the ideal way to cool off in a heat wave, say scientists. According to the researchers, however tempting ice creams may be, they will not work to beat the heat.

Even water should be drunk at room temperature rather than ice cold during the hottest days of the year, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

While the British colonial favourite of cucumber sandwiches works best during summer, the crust free, white bread versions served in posh hotels and tea rooms, do not seem to work best.

Instead, having them on whole wheat bread with a ‘slab’ of mayonnaise and sea salt on top works best, said food industry experts at the American Chemical Society (ACS) annual meeting. Fruit and vegetables with high water content are particularly good for hot weather, which includes cucumber but also watermelon and celery.

Paying attention to quantity can make people eat less

Learning how to stop enjoying unhealthy food sooner may play a pivotal role in combating obesity problem, suggest researchers.

New research from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management explores how satiation, defined as the drop in liking during repeated consumption, can be a positive mechanism when it lowers the desire for unhealthy foods.

“When people talk about self-control, they really imply that self-control is willpower and that some people have it and others don’t when facing a tempting treat,” said Joseph Redden, an assistant professor of marketing at the Carlson School and lead author of the study. “In reality, nearly everyone likes these treats,” he added.

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