ISLAMABAD – Popular anti-cancer superfoods and supplements do not prevent the disease and may even cause it, according to a leading American scientist who helped discover the structure of DNA.

Researcher James Watson said that the cure for many cancers will remain elusive unless scientists rethink the role of antioxidants, which include vitamin pills and food such as blueberries and broccoli, The Daily Mail reported here.

It is widely believed they boost health and fight cancer by mopping up oxygen molecules called free radicals but Watson argues these may be key to preventing and treating cancer-and depleting the body of them may be counter-productive.

Free radicals not only help keep diseased cells under control, they are also pivotal in making many cancer drugs, as well as radiotherapy, effective, he claimed.

He stated that antioxidants “may have caused more cancers than they have prevented”.

“In light of recent data strongly hinting that much of late-stage cancer’s untreatability may arise from its possession of too many antioxidants, the time has come to seriously ask whether antioxidant use much more likely causes than prevents cancer,” he said.

Sugar intake really does affect weight

Cutting sugar consumption pays off in weight loss for adults, while eating more produces weight gains, a new review that supports limits on intake has confirmed.

The weight-loss effect was small, an average of 0.8 kilograms or about 1.7 pounds, researchers of the British Medical Journal conclude on the issue.

The findings come as concerns mount worldwide about sugar intake and obesity, CBC News reported.

In the review, reduction of free sugars - those added by the manufacturer, cook or customer as well as those present in honey, syrup and fruit juice - was associated with weight loss in studies lasting up to eight months.

On the other hand, advice to increase intake was associated with about the same increase in weight, adding 0.75 kilograms or 1.6 pounds.

Body weight did not change when sugars were replaced with other carbohydrates.

The researchers said the relatively small effect isn’t surprising considering the many causes of obesity.

Evidence was less consistent for children, who tended not to follow the dietary advice. But the risk of being overweight or obese increase among children consuming the most sugar-sweetened beverages compared with the least.

Energy drinks switch from ‘supplement’to’beverage’not safe

Some energy drink companies are changing the way they market their products, deciding to sell them as beverages rather than dietary supplements, which will mean the drinks switching are harmful and risky for health especially in children, The daily New York times reported.

According to report the Food and Drug Administration is investigating several reports of deaths tied to energy drinks. And a recent study found that more than 20,000 patients visited in emergency were linked to energy drink consumption.

Health problems brought on by energy drink consumption can include headaches, anxiety and fast heartbeat, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

While the move will lead to better disclosure of the products’ ingredients, it leaves open loopholes that could compromise consumer safety, experts say.

And unlike companies that make supplements, companies that make beverages are not required to report deaths and injuries potentially linked with their products to federal regulators, the Times reported.

Because there’s no limit to the amount of caffeine allowed in energy drinks, the products’ makers can still put in as much caffeine as they want.

On March 19, a group of doctors sent a letter to the FDA urging the agency to set a limit for the caffeine content of energy drinks in order to protect consumers, especially children, from the injuries associated with high caffeine intake.