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 and Facebook @KarenCollinsNutrition.
Q: I’m following a heart-healthy diet. How can I adapt that for cancer prevention?
A: Eating for heart health and cancer prevention aren’t as different as you may think. We used to think about heart disease and cancer as having separate risk factors, but now we know that just as tobacco increases risk of both, eating and physical activity habits also affect risk of both.
Q: I’ve gone through a lot of yo-yo dieting. Am I better off not trying to lose weight?
A: Despite headlines from individual studies, research overall supports the idea that people with overweight or obesity can benefit from losing weight. In deciding whether or not now is the time for you to try to lose weight, the important message is to aim for a healthy weight that’s reasonable for you, and keep your focus on creating a long-term healthy lifestyle.
Weight cycling (sometimes called yo-yo dieting) is the term for repeated patterns of weight loss and regain. On average, about one in six people who are overweight lose 10 percent or more of their weight and maintain that loss.
At the 2016 AICR Research Conference, Dr. Michael Rosenbaum noted that although weight regain is often attributed to lack of willpower, powerful biologic influences affect body weight. Signals carried through the nervous system reflecting energy stores in body fat cells can trigger changes in appetite and metabolism that support a biological drive to regain weight. Read more… “AICR HealthTalk: Yo-Yo Dieting, Weight Loss and Health”
We do know enough now to make eating choices that lower our risk of cancer. In fact, we know that for people with typical American diets, waiting for more information before making any changes is increasing their risk of cancer.
It’s true that research on diet to lower cancer risk is a hot area with many questions still to be answered. That’s why it’s important when making changes to make your decisions on guidelines based on the overall body of research. Trying to act on each new study that makes headlines can make you feel like you’ve got whiplash… not a wise approach.