Nutrition, cancer and cardiovascular diseases

Authors: L. Novotný;  I. Holcátová;  V. Bencko
Authors‘ workplace: Univerzita Karlova v Praze, 1. LF UK + VFN Praha ;  Ústav hygieny a epidemiologie ;  Přednosta: prof. MUDr. Vladimír Bencko, DrSc.
Published in: Prakt. Lék. 2009; 89(5): 230-237
Category: Various Specialization


The authors summarize the effects of diet and the risk of common chronic diseases (cancer and cardiovascular diseases) in which the predominant common dietary risk factor is an energy input-output imbalance (obesity, lack of physical activity and a disproportionate dietary intake of the main nutrients) and a deficit of natural antioxidants and chemoprotective substances. Although diet is considered one of the main determinants of health, obvious relationships between specific foods or certain dietary habits and chronic diseases are rarely found (alcohol). Apart from excessive consumption of for instance red meat and fats, more risky components of food can be formed during its processing (smoking and packing of meat, industrially prepared trans forms of fatty acids) or kitchen preparation at high temperatures (heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Another danger is contamination of food by xenobiotics (pesticides, aphlatoxins, alkylated heavy metals in fish).

In a number of chronic diseases there is a proven protective effect from the consumption of vegetables and fruits as the main natural sources of antioxidants and chemoprotective substances.

Examples of interventional studies with beta-carotene supplementation showed how encouraging results of conventional observational or cases control studies may be mistaken. A better scientific approach to show a relationship between dietary factors and health/diseases are randomised controlled studies or an observational study with Mendelian randomisation and multicentric studies. It can definitively be stated that there is no one meal that can, by itself, prevent cancers and other chronic conditions including cardiovascular diseases. There is not even a universal treatment diet. Thus, it is essential to consume a diet which is as diverse as possible to dilute and thereby reduce the risk of uncontrolled intake of potentially dangerous substances. Physical activity must form an important part of lifestyle, without which, dieting - for instance for the purpose of losing weight - is practically inefficient.

Key words:
nutrition, diversiform diet, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, primary prevention, obesity.


1. Bencko, V., Hrach, K., Malý, M. a kol. Statistické metody v epidemiologii. Zvárová, J. Malý, M. ed. Praha: Karolinum, 2003.

2. Bencko, V. Environmental epidemiology, present chances and challenges for futures. Cent. Eur. J. Public Health, 2007, suppl Nov 15, p. 6-8.

3. Eyre, H. Preventing Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and Diabetes A Common Agenda for the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association. Circulation, 2004, p. 3244-3255.

4. Feskanich, D., Ziegler, R.G., Michaud, D.S. et al. Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Lung Cancer Among Men and Women. J. Natl. Canc. Inst., 2000, 92, p. 1812-1823.

5. Getz, G.S., Reardon, C.A. Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol., 2007, p. 2499-2506.

6. Giugliano, D., Ceriello, A., Esposito, K. Are there specific treatments for the metabolic syndrome? Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 2008, p. 8-11.

7. Goodman, G.E., Thornquist, M.D., Balmes, J. et al. The Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial: incidence of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality during 6-year follow-up after stopping beta-carotene and retinol supplements. J. Natl. Canc. Inst., 2004, 96, p. 1743-1750.

8. Holcátová I., Slámová A. Nádory slinivky břišní I. Potenciální rizikové faktory. Prakt. lék. 2006, 86, s. 4-7.

9. Holcátová, I., Slámová, A., Schejbalová, M. Rizikové faktory nádorových onemocnění a jak je odhalit. In: Zvárová J., Přečková P. Sborník semináře Informační technologie v péči o zdraví. Praha: EuroMISE, 2004, s. 153-155.

10. Holcátová, I., Svačina Š. Dieta v prevenci a léčbě nádorových onemocnění. In: Svačina, Š. a kol. Klinická dietologie. Praha: Grada, 2008, s. 265-277.

11. Hung, H., Joshipura, K.J., Jiang, R. et al. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Major Chronic Disease. J. Natl. Canc. Inst., 2004, 96, p. 1577-1584

12. Hunter, D.J., Spiegelman, D., Adami, H.O. et al. Cohort studies of fat intake and the risk of breast cancer – a pooled analysis. N. Engl. J.Med., 1996, 334, p. 356-361.

13. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention: Fruit and Vegetables, Lyon: IARC Press 2003.

14. Kligler, B., Cohrssen, A. Probiotics. Am. Family Physician, 2008, p.1073-1078

15. Kristal, A.R., Vizenor N.C., Patterson, R.E. et al. Precision and Bias of Food Frequency-based Measures of Fruit and Vegetable Intakes. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2000, 9, p. 939-94.

16. Lee, I.M., Cook, N.R., Manson, J.E., et al. Beta-carotene supplementation and incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Study. J. Natl. Canc. Inst., 1999, 91, p. 2102-2106.

17. Lichtenstein, A.H., Appel, L.J., Brands, M. et al. Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations Revision 2006. A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation 2006, 114, p. 82-96.

18. Moore, L.E., Brennan, P., Karami, S. et al. Glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms, cruciferous vegetable intake, and cancer risk in the Central and Eastern European Kidney Cancer Study. Carcinogenesis, 2007, p.1960-1964.

19. Moore, L.E., Hung, R., Karami, S. et al. Folate metabolism genes, vegetable intake and renal cancer risk in central Europe. Int. J. Cancer 2008, 122, p.1710-1715.

20. Neuhouse, L., Patterson R.E., Thornquist M.D. et al. Fruits and Vegetables Are Associated with Lower Lung Cancer Risk Only in the Placebo Arm of the *beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET). Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 2003, 12, p. 350-358.

21. Novotný, L., Bencko, V. Asociace genotypu a odhalování jejich prostredím ovlivnitelných príčin: využití principu mendelovské randomizace. Čas. Lék. čes. 2007, 146, s. 343-350.

22. Novotný, L., Bencko, V. Příčinnost v epidemiologii a komplexní architektura zdraví a nemoci. Prakt. Lék. 2003, 83, s. 321-329.

23. Novotný, L., Vácha, F., Bencko, V. Sladkovodní ryby ve výživě. Prakt. Lék. 2008, 88, s. 388-393.

24. Omenn G.S., Goodman G.E., Thornquist M.D. et al. The beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET) for chemoprevention of lung cancer in high risk populations: smokers and asbestos-exposed workers. Cancer Res. 1994, 54, p. 2038-2043.

25. Rameš, J., Valenta. Z., Bencko, V. Rizikové faktory prostředí a životního stylu u karcinomu prsu žen – dotazníkové šetření. Hygiena, 2008, 53, 4, s. 127-134.

26. Stender, S., Dyerberg, J., Bysted, et al. A trans world journey. Atherosclerosis 2006, Supplements 7, p. 47–52.

27. The ATBC Cancer Prevention Study Group: The alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene lung cancer prevention study: design, methods, participant characteristics, and compliance. Ann. Epidemiol. 1994, 4, p.1-9.

28. The ATBC Cancer Prevention Study Group: The Effect of Vitamin E and Beta Carotene on the Incidence of Lung Cancer and Other Cancers in Male Smokers. N. Eng. J. Med. 330, 1994, 330, p.1029-1035.

29. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Washington DC: AICR, 2007.

General practitioner for children and adolescents General practitioner for adults
Forgotten password

Don‘t have an account?  Create new account

Forgotten password

Enter the email address that you registered with. We will send you instructions on how to set a new password.


Don‘t have an account?  Create new account