“Eat Butter”? The Skinny On Saturated Fat

The cover story on this week’s issue of TIME Magazine is making waves – and driving sales at the nation’s checkout counters. The article traces the recent history of nutrition science, specifically the 20th-century vogue for health messages about cutting consumption of saturated fat. It does a nice job laying out how those messages were seized upon by food marketers to create today’s grocery aisles thronged with “fat-free” and “low-fat” processed foods.Tasty butter on wooden cutting board isolated on white

But ironically, in its effort to rehabilitate the reputation of saturated fat by showing how that food component has been isolated and demonized, the article effectively demonizes carbohydrates, blaming them for the same health conditions once widely linked with saturated fat.

It’s only the latest article in the popular press to do this. But while it makes a compelling read, singling out any one food or food component for blame oversimplifies a field of study marked by complexity and nuance.

As a cancer research and education organization, we should note that AICR’s expert reports and their updates have found no strong links between dietary fat itself –whether saturated or unsaturated – and cancer risk. Instead, it’s the fat we carry on our bodies that is strongly linked to increased risk for eight different cancers. Continue reading


Powerhouse Fruit and Veggie Rankings: Eat Your Watercress (and Blueberries too!)

In good news for veggies that get little of the limelight, watercress, chinese cabbage and chard tops the list of foods that will give you the most nutrients per bite, suggests a new study. And surprisingly, you’ll find some of the most talked about plant foods in health – such as blueberries – didn’t even make the list.

Chard, ranking #3 on the "powerhouse" list

Chard, ranking #3 on the “powerhouse” list

The study, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, sought to rank how 47 fruits and vegetables stack up as nutrient “powerhouses.” Eating more of these fruits and veggies, notes the study, is one approach linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases, which includes cancer.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about some fruits and vegetables we’re not as familiar with, but for cancer prevention and overall health — ALL fruits and vegetables are powerhouses,” says AICR Associate Director of Nutrition Programs Alice Bender, MS, RDN. “AICR research — and the government guidelines — say what’s most important when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables: eat more, eat a variety.”

For the study, author Jennifer Di Noia, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor of Sociology at William Paterson University, identified the powerhouses foods based on 17 nutrients, all vital for good health. The nutrients she looked at included vitamins, minerals, protein and Continue reading


Barbecue Favorite: Healthy Chicken Kebabs

chicken-kabobsFor your Memorial Day barbecue this year, try our Mediterranean-style Cypriot Chicken Kebabs.

Perfect for a summer meal, these kebabs can be baked or grilled. The chicken is marinated overnight in a tasty blend of extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, oregano, garlic and parsley. Then it is skewered with cherry tomatoes, chunks of zucchini and pieces of red bell pepper. All of these plant-based foods contain cancer-fighting compounds.

Dip your juicy chicken kebabs into the summery green dressing of mint, peas, cumin, garlic and lemon juice. With only 200 calories per serving, you can serve these kebabs with brown rice or another whole grain to soak up the juices, plus a mixed green salad.

Find more healthy, colorful and appetizing dishes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.