Added Sugars: Soda versus Food

Added sugar is making a lot of news lately. Last week, I wrote about the FDA’s proposed new Nutrition Facts label that would show how much sugar is added to foods. This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) released their new recommendation for an upper limit on how much added sugar we eat. They now say that no more than 5% of total daily calories should come from added sugars – about 100 calories, or 25 grams of sugar – for an adult.

Twenty-five grams of added sugar is not much. Check out the table below to see two ways you’d reach that daily limit – one way is pure sugar, another includes foods with cancer fighting compounds.

A sugary soda (8-ounces) vs. 4 delicious, healthful foods
Bottle of soda isolated on white background. Clipping Path
25 grams
=
Healthy breakfast
6 grams
Vanilla yogurt over strawberries banana and blueberries isolated on white.
11 grams
Raspberry jam dripping from a spoon isolated on white background
3 grams
Delicious chocolates closeup on white background
5 grams

Added sugar is a concern, especially in sugary beverages, because it contributes to overweight and obesity which is linked to 7 cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal and endometrial.

For those interested, WHO is accepting public comments on this recommendation.


New Nutrition Label, New Tool for Cancer Prevention

In the next couple of years, it may be easier to know whether your packaged food choice is a cancer fighter or an empty calorie bust.

Proposed Nutrition Facts Label

Proposed Nutrition Facts Label

The FDA unveiled their proposed Nutrition Facts Label and the emphasis is clearly on calories, added sugar and serving sizes. That’s important, because eating too many calories means weight gain, and consuming sugary drinks is strongly linked with weight gain, overweight and obesity.

And, 117,000 cases of cancer every year are caused by obesity in the U.S., so anything that shines a light on how much we are actually eating is a step in the right direction.

To be clear, many of the best cancer-fighting foods don’t have labels on them. Think tomatoes, carrots, apples, squash, blueberries, leafy greens and any fruit or vegetable in the produce section. But in many grocery aisles, you may need some help with choosing foods like soups, yogurt and cereals.

Here are 3 ways the new label will help you choose cancer fighters:

1.            Big, Bold Calories: It’s the first thing that you see –no confusion about how many calories you’re getting. You will need to know how to put calories in context, though. But if you know you’re aiming for about 1600 calories per day, for example, a snack that packs more than 200 calories may help you put that food back on the shelf.

Eat so that you can get to and stay a healthy weight – it is the most important thing you can do to lower cancer risk (after not smoking). Continue reading


Halving Cancer Death with AICR Recommendations for Prevention

Eating mostly fruits, vegetables and other plant foods, staying a healthy weight and exercising are among AICR’s recommendations shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Holding HandsNow a new study suggests that healthy people who follow at least five of AICR’s Recommendations have a lower risk of dying from cancer by more than half compared to those who don’t follow any. And the lower risk was seen with meeting just one recommendation, getting lower for each additional recommendation followed.

The study was published in the February issue of Cancer Causes & Control.

“We found that meeting the AICR recommendations for body weight, diet, and physical activity is associated with lower cancer mortality,” says lead author Theresa Hastert, an epidemiologist at University of Michigan School of Public Health who conducted the study while at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington. “Although the benefits are greatest for people who meet the most recommendations, even meeting one or two can be protective.” Continue reading