As reported by Dr. Gabe Mirkin, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 40 percent of cancers are associated with modifiable lifestyle factors, such as:
• Chronic inflammation
• Lack of exercise
• Cumulative lifetime exposure to radiation
• Cumulative lifetime exposure to various carcinogens
• Sugar-added foods
• Sugared drinks
• Red meats and processed meats
• Fried, grilled or charred foods, particularly meats and fats
• Diet low in plants: fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and other seeds
• Eating refined grains instead of whole grains
Dr. Mirkin then reported on a recent study by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition that confirmed: eating a lot of junk food increases the risk for many cancers.
Indeed, if you look at the foods on the above list, they are the ingredients in junk food and fast-food meals: sugar-added food and drinks, red meats, fried foods, refined grains.
In the study, researchers followed nearly 500,000 adults in 10 European countries for an average of over 15 years. The participants’ diets were scored according to their healthful and harmful components. Those who ate more of the harmful and less of the healthful food components were at significantly greater risk for developing cancers.
In an article I read about the study on CNN.com, they made clear the results were adjusted to take into account other individual characteristics that could have impacted the study: for example, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol use, and family history.
Junk food can be appealing due to its taste and low cost. But there are so many healthful foods that are also tasty—fresh fruit being the easiest example.
If you want to take on new eating habits, the best day to start is today. Just remember to not do too much too fast. Pick one food change you want to make and stick with that change for the 21 days it takes to form a habit. Then another. And so on.
What are some eating changes you have made? Please join the conversation with your comments…