Eat Whatever You Want
I love reading articles and studies that clearly lay out the fuzzy to non-existent links between diet and cancer. Over the years, so many foods have been recommended as vital to our cancer health. Eat broccoli and blueberries and other "super foods" and you will never get cancer. Or eat almost no fat and the cancer will never return. Or, more dramatically, eat a macrobiotic diet, and you will probably live to be 100 (ok, I am exaggerating there). As it turns out, the more we know, the less connection there seems to be between diet and cancer.
Clearly, it is important for our general health that we eat well. It is smarter to eat a diet that is heavy in fruits and vegetables and whole grains and less full of processed foods. It is also imperative, from my personal perspective, to enjoy our food whenever possible. I admit that I am pretty obsessed with food (everything about it: reading about it, shopping for it, cooking it, enjoying it), and I am confident that people all over the world consider breaking bread together to be one of life's real pleasures.
It makes me nuts, and makes me sad, when I talk with women who are tightly restricting their diets, believing that will keep the cancer away. There is less and less reason to even consider doing so unless it just helps you to feel more in control. Personally, I would vote for the control being directed at how you want to enjoy your calories; would you prefer a glass of wine or a dish of ice cream?
This is a marvelous story from The New York Times by George Johnson. I give you the beginning and a link:
An Apple a Day, and Other Myths
SAN DIEGO — A trip to almost any bookstore or a cruise around the Internet might leave the impression that avoiding cancer is mostly a matter of watching what you eat. One source after another promotes the protective powers of “superfoods,” rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, or advises readers to emulate the diets of Chinese peasants or Paleolithic cave dwellers.
But there is a yawning divide between this nutritional folklore and science. During the last two decades the connection between the foods we eat and the cellular anarchy called cancer has been unraveling string by string.
This month at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, a mammoth event that drew more than 18,500 researchers and other professionals here, the latest results about diet and cancer were relegated to a single poster session and a few scattered presentations. There were new hints that coffee may lower the risk of some cancers and more about the possible benefits of vitamin D. Beyond that there wasn’t much to say.