Kids, Pizza and Cancer Prevention

Pizza is popular – for kids’ parties, family night out and even late night snacks. But pizza can pack a lot of calories and that can lead to weight gain, which can increase cancer risk. Child Preparing Pizza

A study published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics dissects the role pizza plays in weight and nutrition for children and adolescents. Although the researchers found that overall, daily calories from pizza are lower than a decade ago, children and adolescents who eat pizza also consume more calories, saturated fat and salt each day than non-pizza eaters.

Study authors also found that if the pizza was from a fast food restaurant or was eaten as a snack, it added even more calories than if the pizza was from school cafeterias or from home. Overall, teens averaged about 320 calories more per day when eating pizza from a fast food restaurant than days when they didn’t eat pizza at all.

Being overweight as a kid may lead to being overweight as an adult. Overweight and obese adults have an increased risk for many common cancers, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

How can you help your child learn to enjoy pizza as a meal, treat or even as a healthful contribution to their diet? Check out our blog where I give a few tips on how to order and make a healthier pizza.


Study Gives New Insights on Red Meat, a Sugar, and Cancer

Research shows that eating high amounts of red meat increases risk of colorectal cancer, possibly because it may spur inflammation. A new animal study published in The Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences now points to a sugar molecule found in red meat as one mechanism responsible.raw meat on wooden plate

The molecule called N-glycolylneuraminic acid, or Neu5Gc for short, sticks to the ends of sugars found in red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb. Although most mammals produce Neu5Gc, humans don’t. Humans are “immunized” against Neu5Gc shortly after birth by an unusual process involving gut bacteria. As a result, when people eat foods that contain Neu5Gc, we produce antibodies that react to Neu5Gc, triggering inflammation.

Previous research has detected relatively high amounts of Neu5Gc in cancerous tissue.
In foods, Neu5Gc can be free or it can be bound to the ends of long sugar chains attached to proteins. The bound form is highly bioavailable, meaning it can easily be taken up into the body’s cells. Neu5Gc tends to accumulate in cells of the colon, prostate, and ovary. Continue reading


Less Red and Processed Meat? New Guidelines May Help Reduce Cancer Risk

16939621_sThis year, for the first time, the US Dietary Guidelines committee may recommend that Americans eat less red and processed meat, a key recommendation from AICR for lowering cancer risk. Every five years, the US Dietary Guidelines are updated based on the committee recommendations and they are due out this year.

According to reports from the committee’s most recent discussions, the 2015 nutrition and eating guidelines may also call for Americans to eat more plant foods, like vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains, also an AICR recommendation. Research shows that eating patterns like this – more plant foods and minimal red meat –  can help prevent obesity and chronic diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

These 2015 guidelines may also call for lower sodium and specific limits on added sugars.

If enacted, these recommendations will better align with AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention and could, in the long-term, lead to fewer cancer cases. AICR estimates that about 1/3 of the most common cancer cases every year in the US wouldn’t happen if Americans followed a healthy diet, were physically active every day and maintained a healthy weight.

Guidelines like this will inform dietary advice for individuals, but will also set in motion changes for school lunches and other government food and nutrition programs. Read more about the guidelines at health.gov.