Convincing Data on Diet and Cancer

Posted by Admin on June 3, 2011

Want to cut your risk of cancer? More and more studies seem to tell us it may be all in what you eat. The World Cancer Research Fund recently reviewed and updateds its findings from 2007.

The original study was the largest inquiry into lifestyle and cancer. Several of the stark recommendations included not gaining weight as an adult, avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol, and not eating bacon or ham.

The study also recommended trimming down, even for people in a healthy weight range. It is commonly believed that the Body Mass Index scores for a healthy weight are between 18.5 and 25. But the study says cancer risk increases as a person approaches the 25 mark, and that everyone should be as close to the lower end as possible.

According to the examination of 7,000 existing studies over five years, researchers estimated that body fat is a much more significant factor in the development of cancer than previously thought. Head author of the study, Martin Wiseman stated "Cancer is not a fate, it is a matter of risk, and you can adjust those risks by how you behave. It is very important that people feel in control of what they do."

The report claimed that breast and colon cancer are some of the most common forms of the disease and convincing evidence supports the role body fat plays in their development. For colorectal cancers, researchers say people should stop eating processed meats like ham, bacon, and salami and limit consumption of red meat to 500g a week.

All alcohol should be avoided for cancer prevention, although researchers supported drinking small amounts that could protect against other diseases. Sugary drinks should be avoided and fruit juice consumption should be reduced to reduce calorie intake.

Obliviously, change doesn’t happen overnight, but its important to know the risks, and what foods to phase out. Other recommendations for cutting your risk of developing cancer include having a consistent routine of aerobic exercise, and of course quitting smoking if you do have the habit.

Another study by the same group updates the data focussing specifically on colorectal cancer. The published results conclude that today there is even more evidence that red and processed meat increase risk of the disease. "This report shows that colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers," said Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, who served on the expert panel that reviewed the research. The research “has estimated that about 45 percent of colorectal cancer cases could be prevented if we all ate more fiber-rich plant foods and less meat, drank less alcohol, moved more and stayed lean. That's over 64,000 cases in the US every year."

The panel recommended that people limit their consumption of red meat to 18 ounces a week or 5 or 6 small portions. The panel also included that ounce for ounce processed meats doubles the cancer risk. 

The panel concluded that the body of evidence supporting high-fiber foods as decreasing the risk had grown considerably – thus maintaining the position that we would all be healthier on  a plant-based diet, including foods containing fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.

Again the latest review supports that healthy weight, low alcohol consumption and exercise are correlated to lower risks of colorectal cancers in particular. 

Dr. Alan Jackson, Chairman of the panel said, "Our review has found strong evidence that many cases of colorectal cancer are not inevitable and that people can significantly reduce their risk by making changes to their diet and lifestyle.

"Because our judgments are based on more evidence than ever before, the public can be confident that this represents the best advice available on preventing colorectal cancer.”


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