The Shocking Truth About Portion Sizes

Since being overweight increases risk for nine cancers (including breast and prostate cancer), maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk. When I’m counseling clients and giving tips to help them lose weight, one thing always seems to surprise people the most: what a true serving size is.

Did you know the serving size of cooked pasta is ½ cup? Most restaurants will dish out close to 2 cups of pasta, the equivalent of 4 servings. We live in such a portion-large environment that we all (including registered dietitians!) tend to have a distorted view of what a serving size is.

Seeing super-sized restaurant portions causes us to have a skewed perception of how much to serve in our own homes, leading to larger portions all around. Continue reading


Study on Overweight and Mortality: The Cancer Side

Just when New Years resolutions on weight loss are in full swing comes a large new study that suggests being pudgy may actually help us live longer, even as it finds being extremely obese increases our risk of premature death.Weight_Veggies_canstockphoto1468161

While the study has already spurred plenty of controversy among the experts, when it comes to cancer one point remains clear: having excess body fat increases the risk of seven types of cancers, including colorectal, post-menopausal breast, and endometrial. The more people weigh, the higher the risk.

“This study raises interesting questions about obesity and all-cause mortality,  but for cancer risk the evidence is clear,” said AICR Director of Research Susan Higginbotham, PhD, MPH, RD. “Our expert report and its updates show that body fatness increases the risk of several common kinds of cancer.”

The study was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Continue reading


Sugary Sodas, Weight and Cancer Prevention

Two new studies strengthen the link between sugary drinks leading to weight gain and obesity. The research adds powerful new evidence to AICR’s recommendation that people should avoid drinking sugary beverages to reduce cancer risk because what we weigh is important. Obesity links to increased risk of seven types of cancers.

The studies were released on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The new studies provide a strong case for the direct effect of sugary sodas on weight gain, regardless of diet and exercise. The studies were relatively long and experimental: In contrast, the vast majority of long-term studies on sugary beverages  — and diet in general – are observational, meaning that researchers look at any link between what participants drink and their weight.

These experimental studies both focused on how sugary beverages affect the weight of children and adolescents.

The first study took place over two-years and included 224 overweight and obese adolescents who drank almost two sugary beverages a day. About half of the teens were asked to drink water, diet sodas, or other calorie-free beverages instead of their normal sugary drink. The other half continued to drink their sugary beverages as normal. Continue reading