When you eat brown rice, oatmeal or 100% whole wheat bread, you know it’s 100% whole grains. Choose pizza, wheat bread, or a breakfast cereal however, and it’s not always clear if you’re getting a whole grain food.
Research shows that whole grains are an important part of a cancer preventive diet. AICR’s continuous update report on colorectal cancer found that foods containing fiber, such as whole grains, help lower risk for this cancer. And whole grains boost health in other ways, including promoting heart health.
But how much whole wheat or oats, for example, do you need in a bread or cereal to say it is a whole grain?
That’s the problem, say experts. There isn’t a global standard definition for what makes a whole grain food for food labeling. Some countries in Europe have their own distinct label guidelines for whole grain foods, and the US doesn’t have one at all, so now a group of scientists is working to find a common definition. Defining what a whole grain food is can help you can more easily identify and compare foods that contain whole grains. Read more… “What is a whole grain food? Researchers have an idea”
If you’re like the average American, more than half of your diet is filled with processed foods. Many of these foods are full of added sugar and fat and contribute to overweight and obesity. This matters for cancer prevention, because obesity is linked to higher risk, and a healthy diet links to lower risk for many common cancers, as well as other chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Q: I’m following a heart-healthy diet. How can I adapt that for cancer prevention?
A: Eating for heart health and cancer prevention aren’t as different as you may think. We used to think about heart disease and cancer as having separate risk factors, but now we know that just as tobacco increases risk of both, eating and physical activity habits also affect risk of both.