Lighten Your Load: Eating a Healthful, Low Glycemic Load Diet

You may have heard about our report yesterday on endometrial cancer: physical activity and coffee help protect against the cancer, but excess body fat and a high-glycemic-load (GL) diet increase risk.dreamstime_xs_33021083_small

I talk about what glycemic load means here – basically, it’s a measure of how much a food increases your blood sugar. But how would you know if your diet is high or low GL?

There are a lot of glycemic load charts out there that compare foods. However, using glycemic load to select your foods doesn’t mean you will necessarily have a healthful or cancer preventive diet. (Meats and fats don’t contain carbohydrates, so they are not even listed on the GL charts.)

So what should your plate look like to make it fit the low-glycemic-load and cancer protective recommendations? It looks a lot like our New American Plate. Here are four easy steps to making your plate fit a low-glycemic-load diet – all just by looking at your plate.

1.  Put Plant Foods on Your Plate

Watery vegetables, whole fresh fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains and nuts are low to moderate GL and they’re packed with cancer-fighting vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Try this: Make a burrito with whole-wheat tortillas, pinto beans, red peppers, tomatoes and lettuce. Serve with a mango salsa. Continue reading


A Normal BMI Doesn’t Mean You’re Healthy

bigstock_waist measuring for Karen_1421303You’ve probably heard about BMI (body mass index) and may even have used AICR’s calculator to learn what your BMI is.

BMI is based on a height and weight formula and is one simple way to estimate how much body fat you have. That’s important to know because too much body fat increases risk for many common cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But a recent article in Science, suggests that almost one of ten Americans may have a normal BMI and still be at risk for chronic diseases typically lined to obesity.

BMI is a strong predictor of health risk in population studies, and obesity clearly increases risk for seven types of cancers and other chronic diseases. However, on an individual basis, the picture is more complex and depends on your metabolic health. Continue reading


Scientific Search for “The Best Diet” Distracts From The Real Issue

A provocative editorial in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association has many of us in the health field buzzing today.http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-nutritionist-holding-green-apple-weight-scale-image28463742

The essay, “A Call for the End to the Diet Debates” by Drs. Sherry Pagoto and Bradley Appelhans, argues that it’s time for the research and medical community to accept that when it comes to weight loss, there is no one diet that is best for everyone. They point to study after study in which scientist have pit, for example, the Atkins diet against the Mediterranean diet against low-fat diets, has not led to any clear answer for weight loss alone.

The real measure researchers should be looking at, they say, is not how many pounds individual subjects of these studies lost, but how able they were to stick to the diet in question. Or, in scientific terms, “adherence.” Continue reading