HealthDay News — Limiting alcohol consumption and eating a plant-based diet may help lower the risk for obesity-related cancers, results of a study published in Cancer Causes & Control suggest.
“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,” said Nour Makarem, a nutrition doctoral student at New York University in New York City, in a university press release.
In 1997, the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) issued cancer prevention guidelines focused on weight management, diet, and physical activity.
To evaluate whether the healthy habits outlined in the WCRF/AICR’s guidelines might reduce the risk for obesity-related cancers, the investigators analyzed long-term medical and dietary data from 2,983 American men and women. Between 1991 and 2008, 480 obesity-related cancers were diagnosed among the participants.
Overall adherence to the guidelines was not tied with a lower risk of obesity-related cancers after accounting for age, smoking, and other factor that may contribute to cancer risk, reported the study authors.
However, one of the guidelines — to limit alcoholic drinks to two per day for men and one per day for women — did protect against obesity-related cancers overall, and against breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers specifically. Eating more fruits, vegetables, and legumes was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
“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,” noted Niyati Parekh, PhD. RD, ofNew York University in New York City.