Diet, Nutrition and prevention of cancer

Department of Nutrition , Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Public Health Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.68). 03/2004; 7(1A):187-200. DOI: 10.1079/PHN2003588
Source: PubMed


To assess the epidemiological evidence on diet and cancer and make public health recommendations.
Review of published studies, concentrating on recent systematic reviews, meta-analyses and large prospective studies.
Overweight/obesity increases the risk for cancers of the oesophagus (adenocarcinoma), colorectum, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium and kidney; body weight should be maintained in the body mass index range of 18.5-25 kg/m(2), and weight gain in adulthood avoided. Alcohol causes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus and liver, and a small increase in the risk for breast cancer; if consumed, alcohol intake should not exceed 2 units/d. Aflatoxin in foods causes liver cancer, although its importance in the absence of hepatitis virus infections is not clear; exposure to aflatoxin in foods should be minimised. Chinese-style salted fish increases the risk for nasopharyngeal cancer, particularly if eaten during childhood, and should be eaten only in moderation. Fruits and vegetables probably reduce the risk for cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus, stomach and colorectum, and diets should include at least 400 g/d of total fruits and vegetables. Preserved meat and red meat probably increase the risk for colorectal cancer; if eaten, consumption of these foods should be moderate. Salt preserved foods and high salt intake probably increase the risk for stomach cancer; overall consumption of salt preserved foods and salt should be moderate. Very hot drinks and foods probably increase the risk for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and oesophagus; drinks and foods should not be consumed when they are scalding hot. Physical activity, the main determinant of energy expenditure, reduces the risk for colorectal cancer and probably reduces the risk for breast cancer; regular physical activity should be taken.

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    • "Diet is a key player in the progression and pathogenesis of cancer. While high-calorie and high-fat diets are associated with increased incidence of cancer [59], several epidemiological studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between low-sugar diet and a lower incidence of cancer [60]. Our study indicates a reduced tumor growth and tumor weight, along with a reduced proliferation of tumor cells in tumor-bearing mice that were subjected to a ketogenic diet relative to regular chow. "
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