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Nutrition Made Easy For Busy People

Diet and Lifestyle behind over 40% of Cancers

The British Journal of Cancer today released a report that 43% of new cancer cases are related to diet and/or lifestyle. The report identified a number of major lifestyle or environmental factors that were directly associated with these cases.

1. Tobacco: 86% of lung cancer is attributable to cancer, and 19% of all new cancers are linked to tobacco exposure (past or present). For advice on giving up visit http://smokefree.nhs.uk/?&gclid=CKnI09bf76wCFdQhtAodunUYyw and consult your GP for practical support.

2. Alcohol: increased alcohol intake has been associated with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and mouth and throat cancers. Guidelines advise a maximum of 14 units for women and 21 for men over the course of a week. A large glass (250ml) of wine is roughly three units; a bottle is nine units; a pint of lager/beer is 2-3 units, depending on the brand, a single measure of spirits is 1 unit.

3. Low dietary fruit and vegetables: there was some evidence to suggest that this could be particularly associated with mouth and throat cancers. Department of Health advice for fruit and vegetables is five per day, so make sure you’re having at least that, with the weighting towards vegetables rather than fruit.

4. Red meat and processed meat: this is strongly associated with bowel cancer. Processed meats such as ham, bacon, sausage and paté are considered a stronger risk than fresh meat. There are currently no guidelines regarding red/processed meat consumption, however the report stressed that daily consumption would significantly increase risk of cancer. Consider reducing your consumption to 1-2 times per week, focusing on poultry and fish instead.

5. Lack of dietary fibre: this is most commonly associated with colorectal cancers. The recommended amount of fibre is 18g per day. Fibre is found in wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholegrains (aim for a cereal with 4-5g/100g), pulses, fruit and vegetables.

6. Excess salt: 24% of stomach cancers are associated with excess consumption of salt. Current guidelines recommend a maximum of 6g per day. Even if you don’t add salt to your food, beware the hidden salt in processed foods, ready meals, baked beans, sandwiches, and pasta sauces. And watch out for the labels: sodium is not the same as salt – you need to multiply the quantity by 2.5 to get the amount of salt in a food.

6. Overweight and obesity: 18% of cancer in men and 16% of cancer in women is associated with excess body weight. It is most commonly associated with throat, kidney, colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancer. Nearly 50% of men aged 35-49 and 30% of women in the UK aged 35-49 are overweight. If you’re struggling to lose weight in a sustained and effective manner, why not get in touch so that we can help you?

To find out more, you can read a copy of the 92-page report  in the British Journal of Cancer: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/groups/cr_common/@nre/@new/@pre/documents/generalcontent/cr_080626.pdf