AICR Fact Check: Fiber and Cancer?

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Heard a great story about fiber on NPR this morning, all about how food manufacturers add fiber to things like sugary cereals and white bread so they can make claims about fiber and health on the packaging.

We’re pleased that the story makes the point that foods that are naturally high in fiber — vegetables and fruits, whole grains and beans — are better options, but then we heard something that brought us up short:

So are these fiber-fortified foods actually making you healthier? This question turns out to be one of those places where scientists know a lot less than you may think they do. For example, a lot of people think that fiber will help protect you against colon cancer. But so far, that link is not conclusive.

In this case, it’s “a lot of people” who are right, and NPR who’s … well, not wrong, exactly, but imprecise.

Because the evidence that diets high in fiber can and do protect against colorectal cancer is not only strong, it’s just gotten stronger. And with February being Cancer Prevention Month, it’s a good opportunity to remind people of the hard science showing that they can protect themselves from colorectal cancer.  Read more… “AICR Fact Check: Fiber and Cancer?”

Alcohol Ups Colorectal Cancer Risk: Family Matters

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The research showing that alcohol increases the risk of colorectal cancer is clear. But now a large new study suggests that people who have a family history of colorectal cancer may be especially susceptible to the effects of alcohol increasing their risk of the cancer.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and you can read the abstract here. (One of the authors, Harvard University researcher Edward Giovannucci, spoke at last year’s AICR Research Conference.)

In the study, researchers looked at alcohol consumption patterns among approximately 135,000 men and women, starting in 1980 (for the women) and 1986 (for the men). Every few years the participants answered questionnaires about how much alcohol they drank and reported whether they had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

After following the participants through 2006, the study first looked at the whole population. It found that those who drank the most alcohol — over 30 grams of alcohol per day on average, which is about 2 drinks – had an increased risk of colon cancer when compared to those who didn’t drink any alcohol. Read more… “Alcohol Ups Colorectal Cancer Risk: Family Matters”

A Healthy Southern New Year’s Tradition

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Does your New Year’s Day meal contain any of these foods – black-eyed peas, cornbread, collard greens, ham or pork? If so, you’re following one of my favorite southern U.S. traditions. Although this meal is all about luck, wealth and prosperity for the coming year, you can add health and cancer prevention to that list.

The black-eyed peas (represents coins and/or luck), collards (green for money), cornbread (for gold) and pork (for richness) are all nutrient powerhouses and can be prepared in delicious and healthful ways.

Collard greens are members of the cruciferous vegetable family that have been widely studied for their cancer protective effects – read more in our updated entry in AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer. And, we’ve got a Great Greens recipe that’s quick, easy and delicious.

Read more… “A Healthy Southern New Year’s Tradition”