Slash the Salt, Keep the Flavor and Boost Your Health

If you ate a bagel for breakfast this morning, you’ve already had a big chunk of the maximum amount of sodium you should have for the day. Going beyond that amount is pretty common though. According to a government report earlier this year, nine of ten adults consume more than the recommended amount of dietary sodium – 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is about one teaspoon.

One of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention is to limit how much salt and salty foods you eat. Our report last week found that salt preserved foods commonly eaten in Asia link to increased risk of stomach cancer and although those foods aren’t a staple in the US, Americans’ salt-loving habits lead to other health problems like high blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

A small part of that  is the salt you add at the table. Most of your sodium comes from salt already added to foods that you buy.

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Smoothies for Kids: Just Another Sugary Drink

They are colorful, squeezable and have the term fruit all over, but kid-friendly smoothies are often just another sugary drink, as a study published last month highlighted. That study found that these drinks in the United Kingdom often come with as much added sugars as soda, giving a young child half of the highest amount of added sugar recommended per day.

That can lead to unhealthy weight gain in children. And that weight gain can mean higher cancer risk when children become adults, because many cancers are now linked to obesity, including colorectal and postmenopausal breast.

In the US, the story on smoothies is much the same. Many of the baby and child-focused drinks are called smoothies but the first two ingredients are milk and sugar. After that, comes fruit purees or juices, which means there is more sugar added than fruit. And some smoothies are simply milk, sugar and flavors, with no fruit at all. In two familiar brands, added sugar alone contributes 40-50% of the calories.Sugar in kids drinks[1]

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New Study: Glycemic Index and Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US and smoking is by far the largest risk factor – linked to about 90% of these cancers, according to the CDC. Among other lifestyle factors, researchers are looking at how diet may play a role and this week, a new study found an association between glycemic index and lung cancer.

Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a food with carbohydrates increases your blood sugar. Foods like sugary beverages and cereals made with refined grains are examples of foods high in GI. Previous studies have found associations of GI with other cancers, including colorectal and stomach cancers. AICR’s CUP report on endometrial cancer in 2013 found that that a high glycemic load (related to GI) diet increases risk for this cancer. Continue reading