The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

In 1997, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research published Food. Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective. It became the “bible” of information for governments and agencies around the world to study and quote in establishing health care policy and writing health care brochures and books. In November, 2007 the Second Report: Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective was published by the same international group of experts who come from  the Netherlands, the UK, India, China, Nigeria, Chile as well as the US.

In the intervening ten years, much new information has come to light concerning body weight and composition as well as food, nutrition and physical exercise as they all relate to cancer causation and prevention. All of this information was reviewed, correlated, and debated to come to a consensus on guidelines for government agencies and personal recommendations for individuals.

After five years of gathering and correlating hundreds of scientific studies, this erudite group has published the following recommendations to be used by all world governments and all cultural people groups of all ages around the world. Personal recommendations are in brackets.

  1. Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight. (Maintain normal body weight throughout the life cycle)
  2. Be physically active as part of everyday life. (Be moderately active, equal to brisk walking 30 minutes a day.)
  3. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods. Avoid sugary drinks. (Consume energy dense foods sparingly. NO sugary drinks. Fast foods sparingly if at all.)
  4. Eat mostly foods of plant origin. (Eat five portions of non-starchy fruits and vegetables every day. Eat relatively unprocessed whole grains and legumes at every meal. Limit refined starchy foods.)
  5. Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat. (Limit WEEKLY intake of red meat to less than 18 oz., little if any to be processed.)
  6. Limit alcoholic drinks. (Alcohol, if any – limited to 2 drinks a day for men, one drink a day for women)
  7. Limit consumption of salt. Avoid eating moldy cereals (grains) or pulses (legumes.) (Limit salt-preserved, salted or salty foods. Limit salt intake to less than 2.4 g per day.)
  8. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone. (Dietary supplements are not recommended for cancer prevention.)
  9. Mothers to breastfeed; children to be breastfed. (Breast feed exclusively infants up to six months of age, continue with supplementary foods.)
  10. For cancer survivors, follow the recommendations for cancer prevention. (If able to do so, maintain body weight, nutrition and exercise.)
  11. It is assumed – NO SMOKING.

Do these look familiar? After five years of extensive research, this group has confirmed what is already known – this time specifically related to cancer prevention. In any magazine at the check-out counter you will find these recommendations: maintain normal weight, be physically active, don’t eat sugary or fatty foods, eat a plant-based diet, stay away from alcohol and tobacco, limit salt intake, get your nutrition from a well-balanced diet. This not only decreases markedly the risks of cancer, it also promotes excellent heart health, lung health, kidney health, brain health, and life in general. Now you know the principles. Go for it!