What do sports, heart health, cancer prevention, eating disorders and wellness have to do with each other?
I just returned from the 30th Annual Symposium of SCAN – the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group – a specialty group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is the professional home of registered dietitians. SCAN has been on the cutting edge of nutrition since its inception, seeing the interconnections of these areas.
At this year’s SCAN Symposium, I was delighted to speak to a packed room about the connection of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The three top diseases share numerous risk factors. And as research is increasingly showing, following recommendations that prevent cancer also reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
During SCAN’s 30 years, the need to keep the big picture in mind has become even clearer among a variety of topics.
• At one time, “wellness programs” focused primarily on heart health. Today, research identifies a broader vision of wellness, including how we can substantially reduce risk of cancer through eating and activity choices and a healthy weight. Wellness now refers to reducing people’s risk of disease and promoting their ability to live with vitality. Continue reading
How long did it take you to eat breakfast? What about dinner? If you want to cut calories without being hungry, a new review of the research suggests that eating that meal a little slower may help you do just that.
Dietitians, and mothers everywhere, have long suggested that people should eat slower. A few observational studies have also noted that heavier people eat more quickly than those who are leaner.
But this analysis focused only on experimental studies. It adds to the evidence that eating slower may help people get to a healthy weight, without being hungry. And being at a healthy weight is one of the most important ways to reduce cancer risk, given that overweight and obesity link to increased risk of eight cancers.
For this analysis, researchers found 22 studies that each manipulated how fast people ate, then measured how much they ate. Most of the studies randomly assigned people to an eating-rate group. Continue reading
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.
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