Plant-based diet with low/zero alcohol shown again to lower cancer risk

This mixture of ‘lots of plants and low/zero alcohol’ is something I have preached and practiced for decades and it works. 

“Our research aims to clarify associations between diet and physical activity in relation to cancer to encourage at-risk individuals to make lifestyle modifications that may reduce their risk of certain cancers”
Nour Makarem, study lead author, nutrition doctoral student, NYU Steinhardt, January 2015. 

This research project was ‘based on real lives’ and was very thorough.  The researchers analyzed 2,983 Framingham Heart Study participants on medical, diet and lifestyle aspects.  They looked at recent data from 1991-2008, finding ‘480 obesity-related cancer incidents’.  

They analysed seven different areas:

  1. animal food intake
  2. alcohol intake
  3. plant food intake
  4. foods that promote weight gain
  5. overall quality of foods eaten
  6. exercise levels
  7. body fat levels 

*Note they also factored in smoking, age and any pre-existing medical conditions. 

So what did this comprehensive research project confirm about long-term diet and lifestyle changes and their impact on obesity and obesity-related cancers? 

“Based on the study’s results, dietary advice on preventing cancer should emphasize the importance of eating a plant-based diet and restricting alcohol consumption” Niyati Parekh, associate professor of nutrition and public health, NYU Steinhardt, January 2015. 

Two different choices stood out “as strong predictors of cancer risk”. 

They were:

  1. Low or zero alcohol intake “was protective against obesity-related cancers and breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers”
  2. Eating a plant-based wholefood diet “was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer”. 

Study by Makarem N, Parekh N, Yong L and Elisa V, from Bandera of Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Paul F. Jacques of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.  The research was published in Cancer Causes & Control and supported by the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant (RSG-12-005-01-CNE).

Posted: Sunday 1 February 2015