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NMU 98 – Diet and Lifestyle Strongly Linked to Cancer Prevention in Large Follow-up Study

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 98 (August 1, 2018)

with Dr. James Meschino

 

Topic: Diet and Lifestyle Strongly Linked to Cancer Prevention in Large Follow-up Study

Source: American Association for Cancer Research journal (July 2018)

 

Today I want to tell you about a large French cancer study that was published in the American Association for Cancer Research journal in July 2018. This study followed 41,543 participants (living in France) aged 40 and older, who had not been diagnosed with cancer prior to the start of the study. The researchers closely followed the participants dietary practices for almost 8 years (May 2009 to January 2017). During that period 488 breast cancers, 222 prostate cancers, and 118 colorectal cancer cases were diagnosed among the study participants.

The study showed that individuals who best complied with the nutrition and lifestyle recommendations outlined by the American Institute for Cancer Research showed the best cancer prevention outcomes, compared with those who followed other popular dietary programs, including the Mediterranean Diet, the Alternate Healthy Eating Index; and the French Nutrition and Health Program. The study showed that a one-point increase in the American Institute for Cancer Research score was associated with a 12 percent decrease in overall cancer risk; a 14 percent decrease in breast cancer risk, and a 12 percent decrease in prostate cancer risk.

Here is a quick summary of the 7 key Nutrition and Lifestyle Recommendations published by the American Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Remain at a healthy weight
  2. Be physically active
  3. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans
  4. Limit consumption of fast foods and other processed foods high in fat, starches, or sugars
  5. Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat
  6. Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks
  7. Limit alcohol consumption

Regarding alcohol, one of the researchers of this study commented that avoiding alcohol was most likely a major contributing factor to the reduced risk of cancer seen in the participants who adhered to the American Institute for Cancer Research’s recommendations. The researchers said the findings in this study augment recent research that implicates alcohol as a risk factor in many cancers. In its last report, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) stated that there is now strong, convincing evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risks of oropharyngeal cancer (mouth and throat), cancer of the esophagus, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, and post-menopausal breast cancers.  There are also convincing associations with stomach and premenopausal breast cancers as well as prostate cancer.I think this is important to point out as the Mediterranean diet allows or encourages some regular alcohol consumption to help prevent heart disease, which appears to under-appreciate the increased risk of cancer associated with this practice. From the study results, the researchers concluded the following: A diet that encourages both healthy eating and physical activity and discourages alcohol consumption was associated with a reduced overall cancer risk, as well as lower breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer risks.

The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) estimates that in developed countries, about 35 percent of breast cancers and 45 percent of colorectal cancers could be avoided by better adherence to more prudent nutritional recommendations.  Let me repeat their recommendations one more time because each of them has important implications in cancer prevention:

  1. Remain at a healthy weight
  2. Be physically active
  3. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans
  4. Limit consumption of fast foods and other processed foods high in fat, starches, or sugars
  5. Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat
  6. Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks
  7. Limit alcohol consumption

 

I’ve included the research study references in the text below.

References:

Céline Lavalette, Moufidath Adjibade, Bernard Srour, Laury Sellem, Thibault Fiolet, Serge Hercberg, Paule Latino-Martel, Philippine Fassier, Mélanie Deschasaux, Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, Mathilde Touvier. Cancer-Specific and General Nutritional Scores and Cancer Risk: Results from the Prospective NutriNet-Santé Cohort. Cancer Research, 2018 http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/78/15/4427

American Institute for Cancer Research:: Recommendations to Prevent Cancer: http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/recommendations-for-cancer-prevention/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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