The American Cancer Society‘s updated diet and physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention puts more emphasis on reducing the consumption of processed and red meat and alcohol.
The new ACS dietary guidelines do not include eating red and processed meats
The American Cancer Society has updated its diet and physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention, with more emphasis on reducing the consumption of processed and red meat and alcohol, and increasing physical activity. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans should reflect the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) new recommendations calling for Americans to base their diets on fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans and to cut out red and processed meat, write the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The new guidelines say that a healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables (including fibre-rich legumes), fruits, and whole grains. It does not include red and processed meats.
People following vegan diets have the lowest risk for cancer compared with other eating patterns
‘The new ACS guidelines say that a healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables (including fiber-rich legumes), fruits, and whole grains. It does not include red and processed meats. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee should follow the ACS guidelines to help protect the hundreds of thousands of Americans who die from diet-related cancers each year.’ — wrote Susan Levin, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,
People following vegan diets have the lowest risk for cancer, compared with lacto-ovo-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and non-vegetarian eating patterns, according to a study funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Studies also show that plant-based diets help protect against breast, colorectal, prostate, and other cancers.
Red meat, on the other hand, increases the risk for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. So does processed meat, such as bacon and hot dogs.
In 2015, after 22 experts from 10 countries assessed more than 800 epidemiological studies, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified consumption of processed meat as “‘carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 1) on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer.”
The experts highlighted a meta-analysis that concluded that each 50-gram portion of processed meat (about one hot dog) eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Research shows that eating 50 grams of processed meat daily also increases the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and overall cancer mortality.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans should be clear that a plant-based diet—that avoids red and processed meat—is the best protection against diet-related cancers.
Not Just Cancer: Vegan Diets Reduce the Risk for Other Chronic Disease
People following vegan diets are less likely to develop chronic diseases, compared with other dietary groups, according to a study funded by the NIH/National Cancer Institute. Researchers analysed the diets of those following vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and non-vegetarian eating patterns and tracked several health biomarkers.
Based on those biomarkers, the vegan group had the lowest risk for cancer, heart disease, and hypertension, compared with the other groups. The vegan group also had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and higher serum levels of carotenoids and isoflavones associated with lower inflammation.
Vegans consumed the most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and had the highest intakes of beta-carotene and fiber and the lowest intakes of saturated fatty acids.
The vegan group was the only group to be in a healthy weight range, while all other groups were overweight, on average. These findings offer more insight into the relationship between diet-related biomarkers and disease and support vegan diets as a healthful approach to disease prevention.
US Doctors Group Calls for More Plants, Less Meat and Dairy in New Dietary Guidelines
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a nonprofit with more than 12,000 doctor members—has released its recommendations for the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They include warnings against meat and dairy products and a focus on plant-based diets to help fight hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, which were already among America’s top killers and are now leading COVID-19 co-morbidities.
“The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans need to focus more on recommending plant-based foods and also warning against meat and dairy products that exacerbate hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, which already kill hundreds of thousands of people each year and now make COVID-19 more severe and deadly,” says Susan Levin, MS, RD, CSSD, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and a dietitian at the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Following is a summary of the Physicians Committee’s recommendations (for doctors to tell patients)
- Do not include a low-carbohydrate eating pattern or recommend limiting consumption of carbohydrates. Low-carbohydrate diets high in animal protein and fat have been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, and early death. Americans already consume too few carbohydrates in the forms of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. A study in JAMA attributed 52,547 deaths from heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes in 2012 to consuming too few fruits and 53,410 deaths to consuming too few vegetables. Consuming too few whole grains was associated with 11,639 deaths from type 2 diabetes.
- Recommend water instead of milk. Dairy products are the No. 1 source of saturated fat in the American diet, which increases the risk of heart disease. Scientific evidence also shows that dairy products increase the risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers, asthma, and early death, and offer little if any protection for bone health. In July 2018, the American Medical Association passed a resolution calling on the USDA and HHS to recognize that lactose intolerance is common among many Americans, especially African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, and to clearly indicate in the guidelines and other federal nutrition guidelines that dairy products are optional.
- Warn against consuming red and processed meat. In 2015, the World Health Organization classified consumption of processed meat—such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meat—as “carcinogenic to humans,” highlighting a meta-analysis that concluded that each 50-gram portion of processed meat (about one hot dog) eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. A study published in JAMA found that processed meat consumption was tied to 57,766 deaths from heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes in 2012. Processed meat has also been linked to hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Research shows that red meat also increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
- Continue to promote plant-based eating patterns. A plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, is full of fibre, loaded with vitamins and minerals, free of cholesterol, and low in calories and saturated fat. Plant-based diets have been proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, improve cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. They have also been show to prevent, manage, and reverse type 2 diabetes. Research shows that they may also reduce the risk for asthma and improve asthma control. — The complete recommendations are available at PCRM.org/DietaryGuidelines.
Food for thought…
If not to help fight climate change 🌍 or prevent animal suffering 🐮 consider eating less meat to lower your risk of chronic illness and cancer.
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