Mash Your Way to Good Health

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Sneaking more vegetables into your meals pumps up health protection. Green Mashed Potatoes, our St. Patty’s Day Health-e-Recipe, blends good ol’ mashed with healthy spinach.

Steamed turnips, parsnips or carrots are also tasty when mashed with potatoes. You can also mash healthy pinto beans then stir into soup or meatloaf – along with finely chopped veggies like broccoli and bell peppers – for more cancer-fighting compounds and fiber.

Find more ideas in our brochure, Recipe Makeovers. To get weekly Health-E-Recipe emails from AICR’s Test Kitchen, click here.

Do Sugary Sodas Cause Pancreatic Cancer?

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A new study on cancer risk offers one more reason to avoid sugary sodas: A possible link between soft drink consumption and pancreatic cancer.

Read about this study on the AICR website: In the News: Soda Consumption Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

Sugary drinks have already been linked to obesity and body fatness is a cause of pancreatic cancer according to AICR’s expert report.

But this study looked at the effect of sodas on risk of pancreatic cancer and found that two or more sodas per week increased risk independently of BMI. The authors do acknowledge the difficulty of separating soda consumption from other health habits that increase risk of pancreatic cancer, such as cigarette smoking. And some other research has not found the pancreatic cancer and soda link, so more studies are needed.

The bottom line is that AICR’s recommendation to avoid sugary drinks for cancer prevention is already supported by convincing evidence.

And fewer sugary drinks leave room to get calories from healthier foods such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains. A healthy diet with those plant foods, along with regular physical activity and staying at a healthy weight, offers protection against a number of cancers.

The Health-Alcohol Conundrum

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There’s been a lot of stories this week about a new study linking moderate alcohol intake with lower risk of weight gain. The study makes for some grabby headlines, but alcohol intake and health is a complex issue that scientists agree needs more research. For heart health — and now, possibly to avoid weight gain — moderate drinking (2 drinks for men and 1 for women a day) may have benefits. But when it comes to certain cancers: there’s no amount of alcohol that’s healthy.

The basics of the latest study: Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the study included about 19,000 women age 39 or older who began the study at a healthy weight. At the start of the study, the women reported how many alcoholic beverages they typically drank per day. Over an average of 13 years follow-up, the women on average gained weight. But normal-weight women who drank a light to moderate amount of alcohol appeared to gain less weight than  the women who did not drink at all.

For people who don’t drink alcohol, this is not a reason to start, the study authors note. More research is needed to identify the many factors than can play a role in how alcohol effects certain individuals. Read more… “The Health-Alcohol Conundrum”