Grilling, Soy and Sugar: Questions on Diet and Cancer

Cutting through diet and cancer headlines and hype isn’t easy for anyone, including your health care providers. They also look for help understanding the evidence and putting the latest studies in perspective.Grilled Steaks

Last month I was in Atlanta, talking about obesity and cancer with dietitians who work with all kinds of people, from kids to seniors, and doing prevention, clinical work, food service and more. Here are a few common questions they asked, reflecting the questions they get from patients, clients and friends.

1.         Grilling: How bad is charring for cancer risk and should we still grill?

AICR’s expert report and updates say there isn’t enough evidence to show that grilled meat increases risk for stomach cancer. But we do know that grilling meat – both red and white – creates cancer-causing substances, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) to form. Because there are ways to limit these substances forming, we recommend 5 ways you can grill more safely. Continue reading


The Beauty of Beets…Countdown to Vote

beet-salad croppedOnce you’ve tasted fresh beets, you’ll be enchanted by their sweet taste and beautiful color. Our Health-e-Recipe for Beet, Carrot and Apple Salad shreds them with tart Granny Smith apples, carrots and chopped walnuts into a cancer-preventive salad.

Beets contain potassium, vitamin C, folate and fiber. Their phytochemicals include betalains, a class of health-protecting compounds that may be best absorbed when uncooked. Beet greens – which can be eaten lightly steamed – provide lutein, a phytochemical that protects eyesight and is also found in spinach (a botanical relative of beets).

In the U.S., fresh beets are often roasted. Eating them raw is more unusual, yet once you have, you may prefer them to the pickled versions that are high in sodium and may be packaged with added sugar. (Our recipe also tells you how to peel them without coloring your hands red.)

This week’s recipe marks our #499th issue. You can help us pick our milestone 500th Health-e-Recipe by voting in our Championship Round. It’s Lasagna versus Brussels sprouts: Vote in Recipe 500.


Study: Eating High Amounts of Fats May Increase Risk of Certain Breast Tumors

For both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancers, the many studies looking on whether dietary fat matters has resulted in no clear conclusions. Now comes a study from Italy suggesting that it does for certain types of breast tumors, including the most common type.Fat, Fat and Fat

The study suggests that consuming high amounts of total fat, and saturated fats specifically, links to increased risk of breast tumors fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. About three quarters of US breast tumors are estrogen-receptor positive (ER+). The majority of those also grow in response to progesterone.

The increased risk was most pronounced for high amounts of saturated fat, the type of fat from burgers, butter and primarily animal sources.

Here’s the study abstract, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

This is one study, and it will be added to the body of evidence on breast cancer prevention in AICR/WCRF’s Continuous Update Project (CUP). In the latest CUP report, there was not enough evidence on total dietary fat to make a conclusion for pre- or postmenopausal cancers. Continue reading