Sunday, November 11, 2007

Excess Fat, Red Meat, Alcohol, and Cancer

"Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective", a report produced by the World Cancer Research Fund together with the American Institute for Cancer Research , has been the most authoritative source on food, nutrition, and cancer prevention for 10 years. In October 2007, the updated Report was released in Washington, DC. The Report is the result of a five-year process that included examination of the world's literature by a panel of the world's leading scientists, supported by observers from United Nations and other international organisations

The Report found out that carrying excess body fat increases the risk for cancer of the colon, kidney, esophagus, pancreas, and endometrium, as well as breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Their first recommendation is: Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.

The Report also indicated that there is convincing evidence linking consumption of red meats like beef, pork and lamb to colorectal cancer. The recommendation is: Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat. People who eat red meat to consume less than 500 g (18 oz) a week, very little if any to be processed. ‘Red meat’ refers to beef, pork, lamb, and goat from domesticated animals including that contained in processed foods. "Processed meat" refers to meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, oraddition of chemical preservatives, including that contained in processed foods.

Another recommendation: Limit alcoholic drinks. The evidence on cancer justified a recommendation not to drink alcoholic drinks. The report specified that, based solely on the evidence on cancer, even small amounts of alcoholic drinks should be avoided. But, because other evidence shows that modest amounts of alcoholic drinks are likely to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, the Report recommended limiting rather than avoiding, alcohol consumption.

The strongest evidence on methods of food preservation, processing, and preparation showed that salt and salt-preserved foods are probably a cause of stomach cancer.

The World Cancer Research Fund global network consists of the following charitable organisations: The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR); World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF UK); Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds (WCRF NL); World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (WCRF HK);Fonds Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer (FMRC FR) and the umbrella association, World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF International)
The World Cancer Research Fund global network funds research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the accumulated scientific literature in the field, and educates people about choices they can make to reduce their chances of developing cancer.

An abbreviated version of the full Report

For a summary of the recommendations: