Research news and views on preventing and surviving cancer
Author: Julia Quam
Julia Quam, MSPH, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Washington, DC metro area. Julia is passionate about nutrition education and communicating evidence-based information about nutrition and physical activity to improve public health.
Research shows that drinking alcohol increases cancer risk. Now, a new study is suggesting that going for that daily run or walk might offset risk for cancer mortality.
This study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found the link between alcohol and cancer mortality goes away when people meet the minimum physical activity guidelines. These findings have been making headlines, but do they give you license to drink with abandon as long as you’re physically active? Not so fast.
The study used data from over 36,000 British men and women ages 40 and up who were interviewed between 1994 and 2006 about their physical activity and alcohol consumption habits as part of larger, ongoing health surveys. Researchers classified participants as never-drinkers, ex-drinkers, or current drinkers based on what they told interviewers. Current drinkers were further categorized by how much alcohol they drank in the past week. Read more… “Can Exercise Offset Alcohol-Related Cancer Death?”
It’s no secret that too much added sugar is bad for your health. Among other health risks, sugar adds calories, which may lead to weight gain. Too much body fat causes about 130,600 cases of cancer in the U.S. each year. Eating lots of sugary foods can also mean less room for cancer-protective foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
For a while, it seemed like Americans couldn’t get enough sugar, but that trend may be turning around suggests a new study. Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the study finds that intake of added sugar increased from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s and then began to dip, mostly because people were drinking less sugary beverages.
The downward trend in added sugar consumption continued through at least 2012.
Weight gain tends to creep up on us: studies show that young adults typically gain about a pound and half a year. This might not be noticeable from year to year, but over decades it can add up to significant extra weight if it goes unchecked. Gaining weight can be particularly harmful for young adults, perhaps because it’s tough to lose weight, meaning these individuals live with excess body fat for longer. Excess body fat is linked to many types of cancer and other chronic diseases.
The good news is that young adults may not need dramatic changes to diet and exercise to prevent weight gain, as a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests. This randomized clinical trial followed nearly 600 young adults ages 18-35 for an average of three years. About half of the participants had BMIs within the normal range, while the other half were already overweight or obese. The study compared two approaches—small, daily changes to diet and physical activity vs. more dramatic diet and exercise changes—to a control group.