Following Lifestyle Recommendations Reduces Risk of Cancer Death.


People who follow the diet and lifestyle recommendations laid out by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) have a 34 percent reduced risk of dying from several diseases and specifically, a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from cancer compared to people who don’t follow the recommendations, according to the results of a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In 2007, the WCRF and the AICR issued recommendations on diet, physical activity, and weight management for cancer prevention on the basis of the most comprehensive collection of available evidence. The 10 recommendations are as follows:

  • Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.
  • Be physically active as part of everyday life.
  • Limit consumption of energy-dense foods. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
  • Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Limit consumption of salt. Avoid moldy grains or legumes.
  • Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone (by avoiding supplements).
  • Mothers to breastfeed; children to be breastfed.
  • Follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

In order to determine whether these recommendations were associated with a reduced risk of death, researchers conducted a study to investigate 378,864 people in nine European countries enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Over a period of 12 years, researchers examined the subjects’ diet and lifestyle to see how closely they complied with six or seven (for women) of the ten recommendations: body fat, physical activity, consumption of foods and drinks that promote weight gain, consumption of plant foods, meat, alcoholic drinks and breastfeeding. Participants were given a score from 0 to 6 (or 7 for women); higher scores indicated greater compliance with the recommendations.

They then compared the group of participants with the strongest adherence to the guidelines to those with the weakest adherence to calculate the level of risk reduction that would come from compliance with the recommendations. When compared to the group with the lowest level of compliance, those who most closely followed the WCRF/AICR recommendations had a 34 percent reduced risk of death overall—and specifically, a 50 percent reduced risk of dying from respiratory disease, 44 percent reduced risk of dying from circulatory disease, and a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from cancer.

Being lean and eating foods mostly of plant origin appeared to have the greatest impact on reducing the risk of death from disease. Limiting alcohol consumption and eating mostly plant foods had the greatest impact on reducing the risk of cancer death. Women who breastfed for at least six months had a reduced risk of death from cancer and circulatory disease.

The researchers concluded that following the WCRF/AICR lifestyle recommendations could reduce the risk of cancer death and death from other diseases.

Reference:

Vergnaud AC, Romaquera D, Peeters PH, et al. Adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research guidelines and risk of death in Europe: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer cohort study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Published early online April 3, 2013. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.11

 

Source: cancerconnect.com

 

Are Organic Foods Better For You?


Processed foods have become a staple in the U.S., making up as much as 90 percent of American diets. Pre-prepared meals are often less expensive, and save working, busy people time at the end of a long day.

However, research from the Organic Trade Association shows that trends are beginning to change. Sales of organic products grew by about 5 percent in 2009, reaching a total of $26.6 billion. And fruits and vegetables, the most popular corner of the organic market, increased sales by 11 percent, or $9.5 billion.

Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, senior clinical nutritionist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, points out some important truths about organic foods.

Myth 1: Organic foods are better for your health.

Reality: There is no scientific evidence that eating organic foods increases health benefits, Kennedy says. All of the studies that point to the cancer preventative benefits of a produce-rich died are based on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables found at the typical grocery store. The American Institute for Cancer Research says that while organic might be the preference for some individuals, eating more fruits and vegetables – regardless of how they are grown – outweighs any potential risks of pesticides used on non-organic fruits and vegetables. Kennedy recommends washing produce thoroughly with water, and even using a very small amount of vinegar – (1 part white vinegar : 3 parts water then rinsing in fresh water). Never use dish soap.

“It makes sense that we pay attention to where our food comes from and how it’s produced,” Kennedy says. “But the conversation should be around local foods. The sooner you eat a fruit or vegetable after it’s picked, the more nutrients it has. If the organic apples at the market are from New Zealand, it’s clear that the locally grown apple is the better choice.”

Kennedy recommends www.massfarmersmarkets.org or http://www.localharvest.org for a list of Massachusetts farmers who sell locally grown produce throughout the year, even during the winter months.

Myth 2: Chemicals used to make foods must be okay to digest because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows them.

Reality: Processed foods may be convenient, but many of the chemicals and synthetic products found on the label have been linked to cancer, obesity, and heart disease. Some of the worst ingredients are trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, white (bleached) grains, and anything with a high sodium content.

“Trans fats are like barbed wire in your body,” says Kennedy. “Trans fat is made to extend the shelf life of products so when ingested, it becomes rigid and jagged in the body and causes inflammation and irritation that can be disruptive to cells.” Even a product labeled as having 0 grams trans fats per serving may contain some because the labeling law states that less than half gram per serving can be listed as zero.  If a product has 3 servings and 0.4 grams trans fat per serving, you could be ingesting 1.2 grams, not zero. Look at the ingredient list and avoid anything that has partially hydrogenated oils, which is another way of saying trans fats.

Kennedy recommends eating fresh foods whenever possible and swapping salt for spices like oregano or thyme. Make your holiday chocolate chip cookies healthier by using half whole-wheat flour and add wheat germ. Also, skip the shortening and instead use a mixture of olive or canola oil and apple sauce.

Limiting sugar-infused, empty-calorie, and highly processed foods will leave more room in your diet for healthy options and also help with weight management and cancer prevention, Kennedy says. For a list of healthy recipes, visit www.dana-farber.org/nutrition; and visit Fighting Cancer With Your Fork for a full presentation from Dana-Farber nutritionist Hillary Wright.

Do you buy organic foods more than you used to? Which organic foods are always in your kitchen?

Source: Dana Faber cancer Institute.