Slash the Salt, Keep the Flavor and Boost Your Health

If you ate a bagel for breakfast this morning, you’ve already had a big chunk of the maximum amount of sodium you should have for the day. Going beyond that amount is pretty common though. According to a government report earlier this year, nine of ten adults consume more than the recommended amount of dietary sodium – 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is about one teaspoon.

One of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention is to limit how much salt and salty foods you eat. Our report last week found that salt preserved foods commonly eaten in Asia link to increased risk of stomach cancer and although those foods aren’t a staple in the US, Americans’ salt-loving habits lead to other health problems like high blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

A small part of that  is the salt you add at the table. Most of your sodium comes from salt already added to foods that you buy.

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Smoothies for Kids: Just Another Sugary Drink

They are colorful, squeezable and have the term fruit all over, but kid-friendly smoothies are often just another sugary drink, as a study published last month highlighted. That study found that these drinks in the United Kingdom often come with as much added sugars as soda, giving a young child half of the highest amount of added sugar recommended per day.

That can lead to unhealthy weight gain in children. And that weight gain can mean higher cancer risk when children become adults, because many cancers are now linked to obesity, including colorectal and postmenopausal breast.

In the US, the story on smoothies is much the same. Many of the baby and child-focused drinks are called smoothies but the first two ingredients are milk and sugar. After that, comes fruit purees or juices, which means there is more sugar added than fruit. And some smoothies are simply milk, sugar and flavors, with no fruit at all. In two familiar brands, added sugar alone contributes 40-50% of the calories.Sugar in kids drinks[1]

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Now, on World Cancer Day, We Already Have the Knowledge, Tools to Prevent So Many Cancers

In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced a “moonshot” program to fight cancer. In charge of that program, Vice President Biden has met with oncologists, scientists, and other leaders in the cancer field, and stated that, “We’re trying to get to a quantum leap on the path to a cure”

Anne McTiernan MD, PhD.

Anne McTiernan MD, PhD.

Much of the focus has been on Big Data, and on sharing science across institutions, in the effort to quickly move results from the lab to the public. In a nation where approximately four in ten people can expect to be diagnosed with invasive cancer in their lifetimes, we need big efforts to fight this disease.

Today, World Cancer Day, is a time to raise awareness of prevention: Cancer prevention needs to be a part of the renewed push against cancer.

Focusing only on the cure is like trying to douse a forest fire on one front while someone is lighting matches on another. The good news is that we already have the knowledge and tools here on earth to prevent a large proportion of cancers from developing, without reaching for the moon.

WCD adAvoidance of known carcinogens (including tobacco, excess radiation, sun and tanning), and use of vaccines for human papilloma and hepatitis B viruses, can prevent a wide range of cancers such as lung, skin, liver, cervix, mouth and throat. Screening and removal of premalignant lesions can prevent several cancers including those of the skin, colon, and cervix. Medications have been shown in clinical trials to prevent breast or prostate cancers in persons at high risk for those cancers. Continue reading