Lighten Up Your Summer Barbecues

We’re at the peak of summer barbecue season, which typically involves getting together with friends and family over big food gatherings. I’ve had many patients asking me recently for tips to eat healthier at parties, especially with the 4th of July coming up. The abundance of

© jillchen - Fotolia.com

© jillchen – Fotolia.com

calorie-dense foods poses a constant challenge if you are trying to lose or even maintain your weight.

This 4th of July – and beyond – here are a few ways to host a summer barbecue gathering that is both tasty and cancer-preventive.

The Main Dish: add some color
Instead of the traditional cheeseburgers and hotdogs served with white bread, get creative and add some color to the main dish. I’ve been loving kabobs lately – they are a great way to combine lean protein, vegetables (and even fruit). Here are some ideas:

For protein options try chicken, shrimp, heartier fish — like salmon, tuna or swordfish — or extra firm tofu. Mix up the vegetables: try peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant or mushrooms. Use pineapple to add a sweet touch.

Thread your skewers, then top with a light marinade. Marinating the skewers adds flavor and helps reduce the carcinogens created when grilling foods. Right now, my favorite is tuna kabobs with onion, red pepper, and peach or pineapple. I marinate the whole skewer with a soy and ginger mix for about an hour then grill. Continue reading


“Eat Butter”? The Skinny On Saturated Fat

The cover story on this week’s issue of TIME Magazine is making waves – and driving sales at the nation’s checkout counters. The article traces the recent history of nutrition science, specifically the 20th-century vogue for health messages about cutting consumption of saturated fat. It does a nice job laying out how those messages were seized upon by food marketers to create today’s grocery aisles thronged with “fat-free” and “low-fat” processed foods.Tasty butter on wooden cutting board isolated on white

But ironically, in its effort to rehabilitate the reputation of saturated fat by showing how that food component has been isolated and demonized, the article effectively demonizes carbohydrates, blaming them for the same health conditions once widely linked with saturated fat.

It’s only the latest article in the popular press to do this. But while it makes a compelling read, singling out any one food or food component for blame oversimplifies a field of study marked by complexity and nuance.

As a cancer research and education organization, we should note that AICR’s expert reports and their updates have found no strong links between dietary fat itself –whether saturated or unsaturated – and cancer risk. Instead, it’s the fat we carry on our bodies that is strongly linked to increased risk for eight different cancers. Continue reading


Is Your Morning Glass of OJ as Unhealthy as a Soda?

People are talking a lot about sugar these days, especially one kind called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – a sugar that seems to be added to just about all sweets in a box or package. HFCS usually contains more of one type of sugar – fructose – than table sugar or corn syrup.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-oranges-table-man-drinking-orange-juice-image26777565

We know that too many sugary drinks – regardless of the type of sugar – can lead to obesity, which is a cause of eight different cancers. But some researchers believe that fructose is more harmful than other sugars, leading to a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Others disagree, leaving the research to be inconclusive.

As the research continues on fructose, a new study published in the journal Nutrition, says that many sugary beverages Americans are drinking –  whether it’s HFCS soda or apple juice — actually contain similar amounts of fructose. Fructose is one of the two sugars that make up sucrose or table sugar; it is also a natural sugar found in fruit and fruit juice.

For their study, the researchers analyzed the sugar concentrations of the most popular sodas, 100% fruit juices, and juice drinks, including sports drinks. The researchers found that fructose levels among some HFCS drinks are often higher than a commonly used database researchers use. Continue reading