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Note to self: what I eat matters

(article, Kim Carlson)

This week the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) released a broad-based study that confirmed what we've been told, more or less, for a while now: Eating meat, especially processed meat; drinking alcohol; and gaining too much weight all correlate with increased risk for certain types of cancer. 

Helpfully, nutrition expert Marion Nestle summarizes further on her blog:

 Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.
 Be physically active as part of everyday life.
 Limit consumption of energy-dense foods. Avoid sugary drinks.
 Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
 Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
 Limit alcoholic drinks.
 Limit consumption of salt. Avoid mouldy cereals (grains) or pulses (legumes).
 Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.
 Mothers to breastfeed; children to be breastfed.
 Cancer survivors: Follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

Despite some questions that remain — mainly, how much is too much? — this study is yet another reminder that what we do or don't eat can have far-reaching implications, in this case on our future health.

Researchers looked at more than 7,000 studies to draw their conclusions. Of course, and unsurprisingly, according to an article today on Food Navigator, the report is not without its detractors:

bq.The American Meat Institute (AMI) has called the WCRF panel recommendations on meat consumption "extreme" and "unfounded". The institute said the advice to limit red and processed meats reflected their anti-meat bias.

bq.AMI foundation vice president of Scientific Affairs Randy Huffman said: "No health groups should be dispensing clear-cut recommendations on specific foods when studies continue to contradict each other time after time . . . Given the complexities and conflicting research findings, it is inconceivable that WCRF could draw definitive conclusions and make such precise recommendations about specific food categories."

bq.He referred to a study on red meat and colon cancer carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2004 involving 725,000 men and women, which showed no relationship between the two.

Bottom line: Who are you going to trust? Those with a commercial interest in your eating more meat? Or those looking after your health? Especially when you see such lopsidedness as this?