Study: For Healthy Habits, Your Environment Matters

Have you ever resolved to eat healthier, only to be tempted by fast food options everywhere you look? Do you think you would exercise more if only you didn’t have to spend so much time in your car?

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Many in the public health community think that factors like these play a big role in what we eat, how much we move, and what we weigh. And many communities have tried to change these factors through so-called “environmental interventions.”

Researchers from Drexel University set out to test whether these environmental interventions work in a study recently published in the journal Obesity Reviews. They conducted a systematic review looking at the impact of various environmental interventions on diet, physical activity, and obesity. Their review included 37 natural and “quasi-“ experiments. About half of these studies focused on diet.

They found that studies involving mandatory changes to the food environment—such as laws banning trans fat in restaurants or requiring healthier foods to be offered in schools—were effective in their intended outcomes. Policies that make it easier for low-income people to use their benefits to buy fruits and vegetables were also effective. Continue reading

Is eating organic food better for reducing my cancer risk?

Is eating organic food better for reducing my cancer risk?

It’s one of the most asked questions we get – especially now, with a new review of the research suggesting that organics contain more antioxidants than conventional foods.canstockphoto20873615

With all the research on fruits, vegetables and other plant foods and cancer, AICR hasn’t had a lot to say about organics. There has been relatively little research on organics and cancer risk, with no clear conclusions except one: eating a diet that is mainly from plants – whether they are organic or conventional – reduces the risk of cancer.

The new analysis, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, included 343 studies from 1992 to 2012. (1992 was when the European Union started regulating organic farming; about 70% of the studies were from Europe.)

The authors looked at how organics and conventional plant foods compared in vitamins, minerals and groups of phytochemicals that have shown antioxidant — and cancer-protective — activity in lab studies. The researchers also compared levels of pesticide compounds.

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Study: More Veggies and Fewer Calories May Help Slow Global Warming

At the same time that global warming is making news, a study suggests that eating more fruits, vegetables and nuts and less meat and alcohol — with fewer calories —  can reduce greenhouse gas emission by almost 20 percent, compared to the average diet. Many of the dietary patterns identified as environmentally healthy align with AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention.Carbon footprint

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is one of the first that takes into account foods nutrition along with its environmental impact.

Last month, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released estimates showing that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture was on the rise.

This study used greenhouse gas emissions related to farming and production as a measure of a food’s environmental impact. That includes methane produced by cows and fertilizers applied to crops.

For the study, researchers analyzed the diets of almost 2,000 French adults who were part of a nationally representative diet survey. Researchers categorized the foods into groups, calculating how its nutrients and calories contributed to a person’s overall daily diet. They also looked at how much the foods cost. Continue reading