Research news and views on preventing and surviving cancer
Author: Karen Collins
Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, is AICR’s Nutrition Advisor. Karen is a speaker, writer and consultant who specializes in helping people make sense of nutrition news. You can follow her blog, Smart Bytes®, through her website and follow her on Twitter @KarenCollinsRD.
Q: I’m trying not to overeat during the holidays, but I hate measuring my food. Is there another way?
Eating and drinking more calories than your body can burn is especially easy at this time of year. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for avoiding the calorie overload that can make you feel sluggish and promote weight gain. You have lots of research-tested options, and a combination of strategies is likely better than relying on any one strategy.
Eating foods with a high glycemic index (GI) can make your blood sugar rise higher and faster after eating. Theoretically, that could cause unhealthy levels of hormones like insulin, which seem to promote development of some cancers, including breast.
However, research suggests that glycemic index by itself has little to no relation to breast cancer risk.
An analysis of 19 studies found no link between breast cancer risk and diets high in GI beyond what could occur by chance. Even glycemic load (GL), which takes portion size of foods into account, showed no significant link to breast cancer risk. The links were not consistent and could reflect other qualities of those diets. Another analysis that included only studies with a stronger design that follows people over time (called prospective cohort studies) found a weak five to six percent increase in breast cancer risk when comparing diets at the very highest to the very lowest glycemic index or glycemic load, respectively. Read more… “Do foods high in glycemic index increase breast cancer risk?”
Q: I keep seeing recommendations about cups of vegetables, but I’m confused about how many I should be eating. What about my kids?
A: If you’re like most adults, you should be aiming for 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day, as seen in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern from the Dietary Guidelines. This amount also holds for children ages 9 and older. Targets for children age 8 and under, are less – about 1 to 1.5 cups a day.
“Cups” of vegetables mostly refers to a portion equal to one measuring cup for raw or cooked vegetables. For lettuce, spinach or other raw leafy vegetables however, two cups count as a cup. A medium carrot, celery stalk and small pepper each count as half a cup. If you don’t want to measure, an average adult fist is a rough guide to a 1-cup portion. So you can aim for one to two fist-size portions of vegetables at lunch and dinner each day. Read more… “Health Talk: How many vegetables should I be eating? What about my kids?”
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