It’s what every examination of the science of diet and health requires. For too long, authorities have demonized specific foods in an attempt to explain poor health outcomes, or anointed the latest “superfood” a panacea against disease.
That’s more or less the gist of a new article in the New York Times, “Red Meat is Not The Enemy.” The author suggests that experts historically “cherry-pick” data from individual studies to single out one nutrient or food in an attempt to determine its role in human health.
The Totality of Evidence
We agree that this can be a problem, and a misleading one. And that’s precisely why, at the American Institute for Cancer Research, when we perform our ongoing analyses of the global evidence on the connections between cancer risk and lifestyle (read: diet, weight, physical activity), we do so using systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses. (We call it the Continuous Update Project, or CUP.) Continue reading
A new study that adds to the evidence on diet and colorectal cancer suggests that vegetarians have a lower risk of this cancer than non-vegetarians, with fish-eaters — pescovegetarians — showing the lowest risk of the non-meat eating groups.
The study was published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine and it will be a part of AICR/WCRF’s ongoing collection of the worldwide research. The latest AICR/WCRF report on colorectal cancer concluded that diets high in red meat increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
The study collected the eating and other lifestyle habits of almost 78,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, a group that traditionally advocates vegetarian and healthy eating. Researchers categorized the group into those who ate meat regularly and four vegetarian patterns: 1) ate fish regularly; 2) ate milk and eggs regularly 3) ate small amounts of meats and fish; and 4) ate no meats, dairy or any animal food (vegans).
Overall, vegetarians had lower BMI, ate less fat, red meat, and processed meat, and ate more fiber.
Slightly more than half the study population was categorized as vegetarians. Over 7 years, there were 490 cases of colorectal cancer. Continue reading
AICR recommends choosing whole grains over refined or processed grains— in addition to being higher in nutrients and phytochemicals, whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains. Foods containing fiber protect against colorectal cancer and may keep you full longer, helping you manage your weight. Whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Scientists are not sure why whole grains and fiber are beneficial for health, but a new study in mice published in the Journal of Nutrition adds to the evidence that changes in the types of bacteria that live in the intestines—known as the gut microbiota—may be important.
The researchers fed one group of mice flour made from whole grain oats, while the other group of mice got refined flour lower in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows the passage of food through the digestive tract, which may help keep you feeling full longer. It is also linked to lower cholesterol and increased insulin sensitivity, important factors in the development of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Both diets had the same amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, and insoluble fiber. Continue reading