You’ve committed to eat healthier and reduce cancer risk by following a plant-based diet – congrats! But if you’ve been looking for a good plan and are confused about what a plant-based diet looks like, you’re not alone. Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian – what exactly is a plant-based diet?
Plant-based diet is a pretty generic term, interpreted many different ways. In it’s broadest definition, a plant-based diet is a diet built around a plate filled with mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. However it is defined, researchers, dietitians and other health care professionals widely agree that a plant-based diet offers powerful health benefits, including lower risk for cancer and many other chronic diseases. AICR evidence shows that eating whole grains, vegetables and other plant foods contribute to cancer protection. Choosing a diet that puts plant foods first also helps support a healthy weight – the most important lifestyle factor for reducing cancer risk, other than not smoking. Read more… “What is a plant-based diet? AICR’s take”
The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans are out and they take a step in the right direction to help you make choices to lower your risk for cancer. Two key pieces of advice–eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of plant foods and keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum. And that could mean fewer cases of cancer associated with poor diet and obesity.
You can put these into practice with our New American Plate model – filling at least 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruit, and 1/3 or less with fish, poultry, meat and dairy.
The guidelines also recommend keeping your added sugar to 10 percent or less of your total calories. As we wrote earlier about the nutrition label and sugar, if you follow a 2000 calorie diet, you could have about one cup of fruit yogurt and one small dark chocolate bar. That’s because foods with high amounts of added sugar contribute to overweight and obesity, a cause of 10 cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and kidney.
Unfortunately, the Dietary Guidelines does not reflect the evidence-based recommendation from the independent expert committee to advise Americans to limit red and processed meat. It is disappointing that industry lobbying efforts succeeded in preventing the clear and simple message that these increase risk for colorectal cancer. AICR research has shown that red and processed meats are convincingly linked to colorectal cancer, and the World Health Organization has also recently established that link. Here’s our recommendation:
A fiber-rich bean-based meal can be just as satisfying as a protein-rich beef-based meal, according to a recent short-term study, published in the Journal of Food Science. The findings are good news if you want to cut back on red meat and up your fiber intake – both recommendations for cancer prevention.
This early study included 28 healthy adults (50% women) who consumed 2 “meatloaf” test meals on separate visits matched for portion size, calorie, and total fat content.
Meal one was a high protein beef meatloaf, about one-half the daily value of protein (26 grams), and one-eighth the daily value fiber (3 grams).
Meal two was a high fiber, moderate protein bean-based “meatloaf” – about one-third the daily value protein (17grams ), and half the daily value fiber (12 grams).
Researchers compared the effect of both meals on reported hunger, satiety, and fullness, as well as calorie intake at later meals.