Healthy Diet

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

OCTOBER 19, 2017

I am a bit reluctant to wade into this discussion as there is such fervor about cancer and diets and virtually no solid data or information. You can't begin an online search or walk past a magazine stand without encountering headlines about particular foods/diets and cancer risk or even a "cancer prevention diet". Especially during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am giving many talks, and I always spend a few minutes debunking some of the common myths. Sugar does not cause or feed cancer. Same for dairy.

This particular article from Eureka Alert discusses a new report from an international group of researchers. Their suggestion is that a whole foods diet may reduce the risk of colon cancer–and, possibly, some others. This seems to make obvious sense as we have all heard, over and over, about the benefits of a diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, minimal red meat, and processed food. Those same suggestions apply to people with various non-cancer GI issues (think IBS), so a link seems quite probable.

I give you this with the proverbial grain of salt reminder:

Whole food diet may help prevent colon cancer, other chronic conditions

A diet that includes plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits may contain compounds that can stop colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases in pigs, according to an international team of researchers. Understanding how these compounds work on a molecular level could be an initial step toward finding treatments for people with cancer, they added.

"What we are learning is that food is a double-edge sword – it may promote disease, but it may also help prevent chronic diseases, like colon cancer," said Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences, Penn State. "What we don't know is, 'how does this food work on the molecular level?' This study is a step in that direction."

Read the article for additional information.

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