The Cancer-Diabetes Connection

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Last week the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society published a consensus paper on the links between diabetes and cancer.  The two diseases share many of the same risk factors: overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity and poor diets.

Here’s the AICR statement welcoming the new consensus report.

We’ve written about this connection often, over the years.  Here’s an in-depth look at the science connecting both diseases, from a recent issue of our AICR Science Now newsletter.

In August, we’ll release our latest AICR In-Depth background paper for health professionals.  This paper will review the science on the cancer-diabetes connection and provide “bottom line” advice for patients and clients. If you’re a health professional or educator, you can receive AICR In-Depth papers, along with lots of other free information and discounts on bulk purchases of AICR materials, by signing up for the AICR HPE eCommunity.

A TV Diet: A Nutritional No-No

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Watching TV is already linked with several negative health outcomes, here’s one possible reason why.

A new study has found that if we were to base our diet entirely on foods in TV ads, we would be eating 25 times the recommended servings of sugars and 20 times the recommended servings of fat. Our diet would provide less than half of the recommended servings of vegetables, dairy, and fruits.

The study is published in this month’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association. You can read the abstract here.

The study analyzed food ads during 84 hours of primetime and 12 hours of Saturday morning shows over a 28-day period. The result was about 800 food ads. After analyzing the food’s nutritional content and serving size, researchers compared the food item to the recommended Daily Values (based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet) and the Food Guide Pyramid.

The average observed foods contained too many serving of sugars, fat, and meat and too few servings of dairy, fruit and vegetables. These foods also oversupplied 8 nutrients – including sodium, saturated fat, and thiamin – and undersupplied 12 nutrients, many of which are linked with heath benefits, including vitamins A, D, and E.

You may not knowingly base your diet on TV ads but media messages are powerful influencers of our eating behavior, suggest the authors. (By age 65, according to the study, the average person will have seen about 2 million ads on television, a lot of which are for food.)

The authors recommend several strategies to increase awareness and change. You could also watch a little less TV.

AICR’s expert report found that watching a lot of television probably increases the risk of overweight and obesity. And excess body fat causes seven types of cancer, along with several other health disorders.

Is there a food ad you find particularly bothersome? Or one that you love?

A Heavier Plate for Cancer Prevention?

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Of the days’ worth of food below, which do you think would be more filling?

The food on the right is certainly more colorful and offers a lot more to eat than the few choices on the left.

A new AICR review of the research on calorie (or energy) density and weight loss has found that diets low in calorie density can play an important role in efforts to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

The photo above is a great example of how calorie density works. Both 1575 calories, the food on the right contains more low calorie-dense foods – fewer calories, but more food weight.

Low calorie dense foods, such as fruits and non-starchy vegetables have a lot of water, so by filling up on these, you satisfy your hunger, but eat fewer calories.

Read more about how to make your plate heavier, but with fewer calories.

The AICR brochure More Food, Fewer Calories contains strategies on following a low-calorie dense diet along with more information on the health benefits.

After you’ve tried some of these ideas, share your successes with us.

Photos: Dr. Barbara Rolls, Penn State University, used with permission.