Nordic, Anti-Inflammatory and Intermittent: Eating Patterns for Cancer Prevention

Research increasingly looks to overall dietary pattern, rather than any single nutrient, phytochemical or even food, to reduce cancer risk. How appropriate, therefore, that the closing session of the 2014 AICR Research Conference focused on the latest research on several popular dietary patterns.canstockphoto2916430

The New Nordic Diet originated in Denmark to create a healthy eating pattern that suits the foods and flavor palate of Scandinavian countries. The diet’s heavy on fish, cruciferous and root vegetables (like cabbage and carrots) and oatmeal; it’s lighter on pork and other red meats. You’ve probably heard about a Mediterranean dietary pattern’s association with lower risk heart disease and other health benefits, but some featured foods are not universally accessible or familiar.

At the conference, Thomas Meinert Larsen, PhD, showed results of studies in which intensive half-year programs of people following the New Nordic Diet brought improvements in heart health risks and weight loss. This shows potential to reduce cancer risk, with eating changes that participants actually enjoyed. Continue reading


Overloaded on Nutrition Research? How to Find Clarity.

“Why didn’t they teach any of this in med school?” So began the question and answer session following my presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). My topic: “Information Overload! Helping Patients Distinguish Evidence-Based vs. Anecdotal Nutrition Strategies.”iStock_000005236823_Small

If you sometimes have a sense of information overload about what the research is saying when it comes to cancer prevention, heart disease and other areas of your health, you’re not alone.

Headlines regularly contradict each other about “must-include super foods”, rules about what to avoid, and suggestions that long-held nutrition mantras don’t make any difference after all. As it turns out, the health professionals at AACVPR made it clear that it’s not only their patients who are feeling information overload; they are, too.

In my presentation, we looked at common areas of confusion, going beyond the headlines to put studies within context of overall research.

•    Some observational population studies don’t show a difference in heart disease risk with higher saturated fat. That highlights the importance of looking at overall eating Continue reading


Health Connections: A Broader View of Wellness

What do sports, heart health, cancer prevention, eating disorders and wellness have to do with each other?

I just returned from the 30th Annual Symposium of SCAN Vitruvian Man– the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group – a specialty group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is the professional home of registered dietitians. SCAN has been on the cutting edge of nutrition since its inception, seeing the interconnections of these areas.

At this year’s SCAN Symposium, I was delighted to speak to a packed room about the connection of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  The three top diseases share numerous risk factors. And as research is increasingly showing, following recommendations that prevent cancer also reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

During SCAN’s 30 years, the need to keep the big picture in mind has become even clearer among a variety of topics.

•    At one time, “wellness programs” focused primarily on heart health. Today, research identifies a broader vision of wellness, including how we can substantially reduce risk of cancer through eating and activity choices and a healthy weight. Wellness now refers to reducing people’s risk of disease and promoting their ability to live with vitality. Continue reading