Research news and views on preventing and surviving cancer
Author: Alice RD
Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Head of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.
As we head toward the holidays, you’ll be hearing advice on how to avoid packing on the pounds – and then how to lose it. And it’s a good idea to pay attention, because a new study highlights that Americans really do gain weight over the holidays.
That’s not good for cancer risk, because too much body fat links to increased risk for 11 cancers, including colorectal and postmenopausal breast.
The recent study, published in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, also sheds light on just how long losing the weight gain may take.
Using data from almost 1,800 adults weighing themselves on electronic wireless scales over a year’s time, researchers found that Americans begin gaining weight in early November and continue until early January. It takes until mid-October to get back to their lowest weight. Not unique to the US, people in Germany and Japan experience similar trends during their popular holidays.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced they want to redefine what the “healthy” claim on food packages means. Healthy is an official term that food manufacturers are allowed to put on a processed food if it meets certain FDA nutrient requirements.
The FDA rethinking comes after a manufacturer objected that their product could not be labeled healthy because it isn’t low fat – it contains whole nuts. They won their case, citing US Dietary Guidelines that say type of fat has more relevance to health than the amount of fat in a single food. High fat foods like nuts and avocados are part of overall healthy and cancer-protective diets, like the Mediterranean diet.
It’s important to know that these claims are designed for processed foods or food products, as a marketing tool – not for whole foods like vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains like brown rice and barley. Marian Nestle explained this in her Food Politics blog last week. Read more… “What does healthy mean? Tell FDA”
Can seeing food in your kitchen and easy serving make a difference in how much you eat? A study authored by an architect and an environmental psychologist published this month suggests that may be an unintended outcome of the popular open kitchen design in homes.
That’s important because how many calories you eat affects your weight, and that affects cancer risk.