Fact Check: For Cancer Risk, Diet Matters

An article in this morning’s New York Times Science Section, “An Apple a Day, and Other Myths,” attempts to grapple with the complex nature of diet-cancer science, but leaves the reader with a very misleading impression of the state of the research.Reports_blog

The article quotes a recent talk by epidemiologist, and AICR Expert Panel member Dr. Walter Willett. “Diet and cancer has turned out to be more complex and challenging than any of us expected,” he said. All of us at AICR know this only too well. Unfortunately, the article goes on to equate “complex and challenging” with “does not matter.”

“Make no mistake,” says AICR Director of Research Susan Higginbotham, PhD, RD, “this is not a conclusion that accords with an objective and systematic analysis of the available science. If there’s one thing AICR’s research has shown, and continues to show, it’s that when it comes to cancer risk, diet does matter.” Continue reading


Study: Smaller Food Pieces May Up Your Calories

When will you eat a cup of food that is half the calories of another cup of that same food? When that food is made of larger, fluffier pieces, suggests a new study. top view of various kids cereals in colorful bowls on wooden tab

The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, focused on breakfast cereals. By eating flakes that were larger and took up more space in the bowl, people ate 100 calories less for breakfast than when eating the smaller, denser flaked cereal.

The findings relate to AICR’s recommendation for cancer prevention on eating mainly plant foods, which are low in calorie (energy) density. Bite for bite, many vegetables and other plant foods contain relatively few calories. That can help with weight control, which in turn reduces cancer risk. In the study, each week for four weeks, 41 breakfast eaters were offered 10 ounces (280 grams) of Wheaties.

Unbeknownst to them, the flake size was changed. One week they were served the cereal as packaged, considered the standard. The other three weeks they were given cereals where the flakes were crushed to 80%, 60% or 40% of the standard. As the flakes got smaller, the cereal took up less room in the bowl. Continue reading


Study: Eating High Amounts of Fats May Increase Risk of Certain Breast Tumors

For both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancers, the many studies looking on whether dietary fat matters has resulted in no clear conclusions. Now comes a study from Italy suggesting that it does for certain types of breast tumors, including the most common type.Fat, Fat and Fat

The study suggests that consuming high amounts of total fat, and saturated fats specifically, links to increased risk of breast tumors fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. About three quarters of US breast tumors are estrogen-receptor positive (ER+). The majority of those also grow in response to progesterone.

The increased risk was most pronounced for high amounts of saturated fat, the type of fat from burgers, butter and primarily animal sources.

Here’s the study abstract, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

This is one study, and it will be added to the body of evidence on breast cancer prevention in AICR/WCRF’s Continuous Update Project (CUP). In the latest CUP report, there was not enough evidence on total dietary fat to make a conclusion for pre- or postmenopausal cancers. Continue reading