Diets high in fruits, vegetables and other foods with fewer calories per bite may lower an older women’s risk of breast cancer compared to women who eat lots of high calorie-dense foods, suggests a new study. The findings suggest the link is independent of overweight and obesity, a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer.
In this study researchers looked at energy density, the amount of calories in a certain weight of food, typically a gram. Cakes, ice cream and other foods heavy in oils and added sugars are high in energy density. Low energy-dense foods are higher in water and fiber, making these foods generally lower in calories for every gram. Vegetables, fruits and many unprocessed grains are generally low in energy-density.
Can seeing food in your kitchen and easy serving make a difference in how much you eat? A study authored by an architect and an environmental psychologist published this month suggests that may be an unintended outcome of the popular open kitchen design in homes.
That’s important because how many calories you eat affects your weight, and that affects cancer risk.
Today the Food and Drug Administration announced it will be making major changes to the Nutrition Facts Label found on US packaged foods. The American Institute for Cancer Research applauds these changes, which will take place over the next three years. Here’s how the new information can help you lower your cancer risk.
1. Calories are big and bold. If you’re trying to lose weight or stay at a healthy weight, knowing how these foods fit into your diet is important. You can see at a glance whether these calories fit your needs and easily compare to other foods for the smartest choice.
2. Serving sizes are more realistic. You will be able to know more accurately how many calories you’re getting because servings sizes are more in line with typical portions Americans eat. For packages where people usually eat or drink it all in one sitting, such as a 20 ounce soda, the calories and other nutrients will refer to the entire package.
3. Added sugars are now on the label. This is important for cancer prevention, because now you’ll know how much sugar has been added to foods like yogurt, flavored milks and sweetened fruit drinks. AICR research shows that eating food and drinks high in sugar can lead to overweight and obesity, which is a cause of 11 different types of cancer. AICR, along with other health organizations, urged the FDA to make this change.
The new label will list vitamin D and potassium, for which many Americans struggle to meet the recommended daily amount. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required on the label.
As always, AICR recommends choosing minimally processed foods like vegetables, fruits and other plant foods as often as possible. When you do reach for a packaged food product, these changes will make it easier to make informed choices about what you eat.