Many Unaware Diabetes Ups Cancer Risk, How Lifestyle Can Help

Today is World Diabetes Day and it comes at a time when the US rate of diabetes and those at risk for the disease are higher then ever before. Most are cases of type 2 diabetes, which brings numerous challenges in itself. Many are not aware that this disease also brings an increased risk of several cancers. For those at risk, you can lower it. CancerDiabetesVennx300

A paper back in 2010 found that people with type 2 diabetes are are at twice the increased risk of developing liver, pancreas and endometrium cancers, when compared to those without diabetes. Increased risk is smaller but still evident for cancers of the colon/rectum, post-menopausal breast and bladder.

A June report released by the government show how many men and women face these risks:
– about 1 in 10 US adults have diabetes
– about 1 in 3 are at risk for developing it
– over 1 in 4 adults with diabetes are undiagnosed

The connection between cancers and type 2 diabetes appears to be – in part – due to risk factors shared by both diseases, such as obesity, poor diet and being inactive. The positive is that people can do something about these.

Eating healthy, being active, and getting to then staying a healthy weight can help people with pre-diabetes reduce the risk of many cancers and type 2 diabetes. For those with diabetes, a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of cancers and improve management of the disease.

If you are at risk of developing or have diabetes, here, our Nutrition Advisor and expert in this area talks about the cancer-diabetes connections and steps you can take.


Women, Weight Loss and Cancer Risk

One of the big findings from AICR’s new report is that excess body fat increases a woman’s risk of endometrial cancer. Research already shows that being overweight increases risk of other cancers, such as post-menopausal breast and colorectal.Woman's Feet on a Scale

Maintaining a healthy body weight plays a key role in good health for both men and women – but as women, there are unique obstacles we face that can make weight loss a bit harder. Here are a few weight challenges I’ve seen women face and ways to overcome them.

  • Calorie needs. Women generally have a slower metabolism (due to differences in body build) compared to men. For example, the calorie needs for a sedentary, 35 year-old women who is 150 pounds and 5’5” inches tall are about 1,800 per day, while those for a man of the same age, height and weight are about 2,000 calories per day.

Overcome it by making healthier choices at restaurants (swap the fries or mashed potatoes for steamed vegetables) and keep portions in check. Recognize everyone has different calorie needs – eat based on your own hunger and fullness, not based on what others are eating. Continue reading


Lighten Your Load: Eating a Healthful, Low Glycemic Load Diet

You may have heard about our report yesterday on endometrial cancer: physical activity and coffee help protect against the cancer, but excess body fat and a high-glycemic-load (GL) diet increase risk.dreamstime_xs_33021083_small

I talk about what glycemic load means here – basically, it’s a measure of how much a food increases your blood sugar. But how would you know if your diet is high or low GL?

There are a lot of glycemic load charts out there that compare foods. However, using glycemic load to select your foods doesn’t mean you will necessarily have a healthful or cancer preventive diet. (Meats and fats don’t contain carbohydrates, so they are not even listed on the GL charts.)

So what should your plate look like to make it fit the low-glycemic-load and cancer protective recommendations? It looks a lot like our New American Plate. Here are four easy steps to making your plate fit a low-glycemic-load diet – all just by looking at your plate.

1.  Put Plant Foods on Your Plate

Watery vegetables, whole fresh fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains and nuts are low to moderate GL and they’re packed with cancer-fighting vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Try this: Make a burrito with whole-wheat tortillas, pinto beans, red peppers, tomatoes and lettuce. Serve with a mango salsa. Continue reading