Ripple Effect for Cancer Prevention

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Do you ever engage in “mindless eating?”

According to Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Americans often do.  And it typically leads to overeating and eventually overweight and obesity.

At the “Food for Your Whole Life” Symposium in NYC these last 2 days, there’s been lots of discussion about how we make and sustain lifestyle changes – or don’t.  We’ve heard about everything from wholesale changes (a rancher who switched to a vegan diet) to small steps that add up over time.  All for the purpose of better health now as well as preventing chronic diseases caused by obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Dr. Wansink introduced the concept of a “ripple effect.”  It’s about building on small successes.  He described a pilot study his group recently conducted with 2000 participants who chose small changes to make in their diet for three months.  Each group made one small change in their eating behavior, and that’s it.

Even though they weren’t making any effort to lose weight those who chose the change of using smaller plates at meals lost an average of almost 2 lbs during that time.  The individuals who made the decision to only eat in the kitchen or dining room lost an average of 1.5 lbs.

That’s interesting, but the best part is that the weight loss was 53% higher in the 3rd month than in the 1st month.  The reason?  The participants reported making other small changes throughout the 3 months.  As they made simple changes and were able to sustain that, they added other changes.  A ripple effect of one small change.

To begin your own ripple effect see AICR’s tips on making small changes in your diet for cancer prevention.

Let us know what small change you’ve made to move toward a healthier lifestyle.

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    Serve Up a Healthy Weight

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    Forget serving bowls.  If you’re trying to cut back to lose some weight, a simple strategy may help in a big way.

    According to a Cornell University study titled “Serve Here; Eat There,” if you leave the serving dishes off the table you may eat less.

    The researchers studied the amount of food 78 adults ate under different conditions.  They served some meals from the kitchen (“plated the food”) and allowed serving dishes to be on the table at other meals.

    They found that people refilled their plates fewer times if food was served from the kitchen.  Overall, people ate 20% fewer calories (men ate about 29% less) when serving dishes were absent from the table.

    Finding healthy ways to reduce extra body fat could help Americans reduce cancer cases by 100,000 every year according to AICR.  Learning to eat smaller portions and limiting “seconds” is one strategy experts say works.

    So to lower your risk for cancer and other chronic disease, try this at home: Serve the food in the kitchen and leave the serving dishes off the table – with one exception.  Leave vegetable serving bowls on the table.  You may find you and your family emptying the vegetable bowl rather than filling up on pasta or meat.

    How do you serve your meals?

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      “A Sea-Change in How the US Approaches Disease Prevention”

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      Great short piece on America Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report on a story that hasn’t gotten the attention it should:  How the new healthcare legislation broadens our national approach to diseases like cancer by placing an unprecedented amount of focus on prevention. Take a listen.

      Understand: More and better prevention efforts are sorely needed and long overdue.  But if there’s one thing our policy report made clear, it’s that government can’t do it alone.  All levels of society – industry, schools, health professionals, the media, individuals – helped get us to where we are now, and must play a role in the kind of sweeping societal changes needed to make it easier for everyone to make healthy, cancer protective choices.

      How are our policy report’s 49 recommendations addressed in the new legislation?  What, exactly, remains to be done?  It’ll take some time to tease out those answers.

      In the meantime, count on the American Institute for Cancer Research for practical everyday advice that’s based on research your generosity makes possible — research that reveals how you can help protect yourself from cancer.

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