I was thrilled and honored to be invited to the launch event of AICR/WCRF Third Expert Report, Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Cancer: a Global Perspective. The report was globally launched across continents on May 24, 2018. Referring to the release of the report as a “launch” really was fitting: Think of how a ship launches out to sea, bearing important cargo as it sends ripples in the water that spread far and wide. Here is a sampling of discussions, that I have had with colleagues, friends, and family.
Eating patterns are a key element in the cancer prevention message of the new American Institute for Cancer Research Third Expert Report. Recognition of eating patterns as a bottom-line strategy for health has been one of the major nutrition research advances in recent years.
What does this concept of eating patterns mean for your efforts to eat healthfully? It can seem a little confusing, especially if you’re surrounded by information focused on details of specific foods or nutrients as either essential or forbidden for healthy eating.
You’ve surely seen plenty of headlines proclaiming the Mediterranean Diet among the healthiest ways to eat. What does the research behind these headlines mean about potential to reduce your risk of cancer? We need to step in and look more closely at these studies, and also step back to view their findings as part of the big picture on what we know about eating habits and cancer risk.
Does a Mediterranean Diet reduce cancer risk?
A growing number of studies do link a Mediterranean pattern of eating with lower cancer risk. But it’s important to emphasize that this is compared to people with low scores for “Mediterranean” eating –which usually means they have eating habits that include more meat, refined grains and sweets. These studies do not establish Mediterranean diets as more protective than other healthy ways of eating.