Q: Can people who are already overweight reduce their cancer risk if
they lose weight?
A: Most adult cancers develop over a 10 to 20 year period or
longer. Although researchers can’t say for sure that losing weight will lower
cancer risk, the evidence looks promising. For example, two large studies of
post-menopausal women found that those who lost weight after menopause reduced
their risk of breast cancer substantially.
That’s important since a recent report estimated that overweight and obesity
in the U.S. account for 14 percent of men’s cancer deaths and 20 percent of
people lose weight, they may not be able to undo cancer-causing damage that’s
already done, but shedding excess fat can reduce elevated levels of insulin,
insulin-related growth factors and certain hormones like estrogen.
As these compounds are all associated with
the process of cancer development, we expect that their cancer-promoting
effects also decrease with weight loss.
Each loss or gain of excess body fat seems to change cancer risk. Even
if you can’t reach what you consider your ideal weight, researchers say that
any excess body fat that you can lose and keep off should lower cancer
Q: Are mushrooms a good source of vitamin D?
A: Most mushrooms supply only a trace amount of vitamin D.
However, emerging research suggests that
exposing mushrooms to ultraviolet light for a few hours before harvest (or 5 to
15 minutes after harvest) can trigger production of vitamin D within the
“Enriched mushrooms” treated
in this manner contain 23 to 85 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D per three ounce
serving, about one raw portabella mushroom piece or 4 large white
When converted to
International Units (IU) – the measure most commonly used to record vitamin D
levels in the U.S. – the figures are equivalent to roughly 900 to 3000 IU. It’s
an amount that satisfies most people’s vitamin D requirements for a few days
(based on current U.S. recommendations) and is even enough to meet the possibly
increased standards being debated by health professionals.
Q: If I order my burger or sandwich without cheese, am I really saving
that many calories?
A: Adding full fat cheese to your sandwiches and burgers usually
adds an extra 60 to 100 calories and 5 to 7 grams of fat.
So, yes, ordering these foods without the
cheese can be a good move.
you consume less than the recommended amount of calcium each day – three cups
of milk, yogurt or equivalent calcium-fortified foods – you may prefer to
include the cheese and limit other sources of fat.
For example, you can usually cut more fat and
calories by choosing a burger that is smaller or leaner (like turkey or veggie
burgers) than by omitting the cheese.
Leaving off bacon saves about as much fat and calories as skipping cheese,
too. You can also balance the fat in cheese by skipping the fries or chips that
often come with these foods.
The American Institute for Cancer Research
(AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of
nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets
the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has
contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at
universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has
published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the
field and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a
wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make
dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate
program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its Web site, www.aicr.org.
AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
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