Summer Reading List, Part 1:
What You May Have Missed
From processed meat to myth busting, this issue highlights our seven most popular online articles over the past year for you to enjoy during summer breaks. Next issue: get your library card handy, we have a list of health-related books recommended by health professionals.
In no particular order, here are the stories related to cancer risk and survivorship that attracted the most attention.
1. Is processed meat “unfit” and what is it?
When it comes to reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, avoiding processed meat is one step people can take. That was the conclusion of the recent continuous updates report on colorectal cancer, published in 2011, and it remains among AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention.
In May, an organization added a twist of hyperbole to our recommendation by using the phrase “unfit for human consumption” (updated to “too dangerous for human consumption") and the post went viral. Here, on our blog, we responded to the sensational headlines.
- Read "Unfit for Human Consumption”: Processed Meat Science vs. Spin.
- Find out What is Processed Meat Anyway?
2. Eating to prevent both heart disease and cancer
In February, a major study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that consuming a Mediterranean plant-based diet, including plenty of nuts and healthy oils, linked to a reduced risk of stroke, compared to those following a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean-diet groups also ate more fish and legumes compared to the low-fat group.
With more people in the United States dying of heart disease than from any other cause – cancer ranks a close second, this article – looks at how the same diet can be good for the heart and for reduced cancer risk. Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, talks about how AICR’s evidence-based dietary recommendations for cancer prevention compare to eating for heart health.
- Read the CRU article Eating to Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer.
3. Untangling the diet-cancer research:
AICR's Foods that Fight Cancer™
Can cherries fight cancer? How does soy relate to breast cancer risk? AICR’s web-based tool continues to remain one of our most popular sections. Foods that Fight Cancer provides the current state of the research on the food-cancer link, practical strategies to incorporate cancer-protective foods into the day, and answers to commonly asked questions. AICR's Foods that Fight Cancer™ features the foods AICR gets asked about most frequently.
The resource details the strength of current evidence linking a given food to lower cancer risk and also highlights open areas of investigation in laboratory and human studies.
- "Cherries" is one of the latest entries of AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer™. Take a look at all the foods.
4. Following AICR recommendations and living longer
The same AICR evidence-based recommendations for cancer prevention also appear to reduce risk of premature death from cancer, along with other diseases, finds a major new study published in April. The study included almost 400,000 people in nine European countries.
At the start of the study, participants answered questions about their diet, activity and other lifestyle habits.
After almost 13 years, those who followed six or more of AICR’s recommendations were 34 percent less likely to die compared to those who least followed the recommendations. For cancer alone, adhering to highest numbers of the recommendations led to a 20 percent reduced risk of a premature death during the course of the study.
5. Is obesity a disease?
In June, the American Medical Association announced they were officially recognizing obesity as a disease, and the move received a lot of attention.
The announcement comes as the United States is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, which does not bode well for our country’s health. More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults and one third of children are categorized as overweight or obese. Excess body fat increases the risk of seven cancers, along with other chronic disease.
- Hear what we had to say about it. Read the blog post Is Obesity a Disease?
6. Myths about cancer prevention
Should breast cancer survivors avoid soy foods? Does being overweight matter for cancer risk? There’s a lot of information out there on what increases and decreases a person’s cancer risk and we know it can be confusing.
That’s probably why this slideshow, where we answer some of the myths we frequently hear, is visited so often.
- Watch our slideshow on Seven Myths about Cancer Prevention.
7. Taking a weight-loss challenge
In Spring, we launched a program geared to help people lose weight – and reduce their cancer risk – and it soared into one of the most visited pages.
The 12-week online program is a research-based, visual way to proportion and portion the food on your plate to lower cancer risk and help people lose weight healthfully. Each week participants receive one challenge, focusing on small shifts toward healthier eating and moving more. Paricipants also has their own page to track their progress, posts photos of their plate and share
- Take a look at previous challenges and the New American Plate Challenge program.