Category Archives: Diet/Exercise

Will a vitamin a day keep cancer away?

By Marji McCullough, ScD, RD

 

Editor’s note: Dr. McCullough added the following statement 12/20/13 in response to new studies being released:

Recent findings on multivitamin supplements published after the posting of this blog deserve mention. In 2012, the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a daily multivitamin supplement were published, showing a small but statistically significant lower risk of all cancers combined in male physicians followed over 11 years.  The supplement included 30 nutrients at levels similar to that found in a regular diet in the United States (≤100% recommended daily allowance (RDA)).  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently updated their review of vitamin and mineral supplements for the primary prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and found there isn’t much evidence that multivitamins or supplements help prevent cancer or CVD. But they add that a small benefit from multivitamin supplements on cancer in men was found, based on this study and an earlier RCT in France. The study in France found lower rates of cancer in men, but not women. The authors speculate that this may have been due to worse nutritional status – a generally less nutritious diet in the men – but more research is needed.… Continue reading →

From the Pyramid to the Plate

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a new graphic, a new icon designed to help make it easier for all of us to eat a healthier diet.  Called “MyPlate,” this icon replaces the Food Guide Pyramid that, in one form or another, has been around since 1992. And it is a huge improvement. Especially because we eat off plates, not pyramids. [more]

MyPlate is designed to be an easy-to-understand tool to help consumers put into action the key recommendations of the 2010 Federal Dietary Guidelines. This tool, along with other resources developed in support of the Guidelines, collectively strive to help all of us do these things:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less
  • Avoid oversized portions
  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Switch to fat-free or 1% milk
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals, and choose the foods with lower numbers
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

And why are these recommendations so important? Because right now, 63% of adults in this country are overweight, including 27% who are obese; 17% of children and adolescents are obese; and our poor diets (and physically inactive lifestyles) contribute to 4 out of the 7 leading causes of death in this country, including cancer.… Continue reading →

Another Reason to Have a Second Cup of Coffee?

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

I admit it; I’m a java junkie. I LOVE my morning (and mid-morning) cups of coffee.  So any study that looks at the potential health benefits of coffee gets my adrenaline pumping, whether I’m revved up on caffeine or not.

A study just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at whether or not coffee consumption was related to prostate cancer risk. The researchers were particularly interested in whether or not coffee consumption reduced the risk of advanced prostate cancer (by advanced, they mean that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate at the time of diagnosis).  As a matter of fact, this study is the first of its kind looking specifically at the relationship between coffee consumption and advanced prostate cancer.  While prostate cancer is one cancer I don’t need to personally worry about, on behalf of all the men in my life, I took a look. [more]

 

 

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health collected data on about 48,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Every 4 years between 1986 and 2008, the men reported how much coffee they drank, and researchers determined the risk for prostate cancer related to the amount of coffee consumed.… Continue reading →

‘May’ We Talk about Getting Healthier?

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

 

I just heard on the radio the other day that spring is more than halfway over. Before we know it, the year will be halfway over – and at that point, I always like to reflect back on the last six months, think about those resolutions I set at the beginning of the year, and see how I’m doing. It’s a time for me to take stock, get real, and get back on track if need be.

 

At the beginning of the year, I did a little research to see just how popular setting New Year’s resolutions is. According to surveys, about 50% of us will make some kind of resolution. And likely, those resolutions will be related to eating better, being more active, and losing weight.

[more]

All lofty goals, of course, but according to those same surveys, only 8% of us will achieve what we actually set out to do.  Forty-five percent of us will have thrown in the towel by the end of January, and most of the rest of us? Well, by Valentines’ Day, love may be in the air, but chance are, those New Years resolutions are getting the boot.  And by the mid-year mark, well…let’s just say, most people are asking, “What resolutions?”

 

So what’s the deal?… Continue reading →

Hot dog! Headlines Can Be Deceiving.

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

Did you hear the one about the hot dog and the rotisserie chicken? Recent news reports suggest that, at least when it comes to cancer, the hot dog may be the better choice.

But don’t reach for the mustard and relish just yet.

Researchers at Kansas State University, with funding in part from the American Meat Institute and the National Pork Board Check-off, tested the heterocyclic amine (HCA) levels of a variety of popular ready-to-eat meat products: hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, pepperoni and rotisserie chicken. HCAs are chemicals that are formed in meats when they are cooked at very high temperatures. Studies show that these chemicals can damage DNA and cause cancer in animals. It’s not clear how much they may contribute to cancer risk in people. Even so, the American Cancer Society recommends cooking meats with methods that create fewer HCAs, such as baking or poaching.

[more]

The hot dog study results, published in Meat Science, the journal of the American Meat Science Association (who knew?), found that pepperoni had the lowest levels of HCAs, followed by hot dogs and deli meat. Bacon and rotisserie chicken came next. And then came the headlines: “Good News for Meat Lovers: Most Ready-to-Eat Meat Products Contain Very Few Cancerous Compounds,” and “Hot Dogs for Better Health?… Continue reading →