Diet and Cancer

~ February 2002 No.142 ~

The booklet “Diet and Health Recommendations for the Prevention of Cancer” published by the World Cancer Research Fund lists 9 ways in which changes to the diet can reduce the incidence of various forms of cancer. It also gives suggestions on how best their dietary suggestions can be slowly and subtley be followed – a useful idea for families and individuals who don’t want to make radical changes to their diet, and still want to eat healthy.

  • choose predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses and minimally processed, starchy staple foods.
  • eat 400-800 grams (15-30 ounces) or five or more portions a day of a variety of vegetables and fruits, all year round.
  • eat 600-800 grams (20-30 ounces) or seven or more portions a day of a variety of cereals, pulses, roots, tubers, and plantains. Prefer minimally processed foods. Limit consumption of refined sugar.
  • alcohol consumption is not recommended. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to less than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
  • if eaten at all, limit intake of red meat to less than 80 grams (3 ounces) daily. It is preferable to choose fish, poultry or meat from non-domesticated animals (e.g. wild animals hunted for food) in place of meat.
  • limit consumption of fatty foods, particularly those of animal origin. Choose modest amounts of appropriate vegetable oils.
  • limit consumption of salted foods and use of cooking and table salt. Use herbs and spices to season foods.

The World Cancer Research Fund concludes that anyone who follows their recommendations, probably doesn‘t need to take dietary supplements, and that such supplements possibly are not helpful in reducing cancer risk.

According to their website, the World Cancer Research Fund is the only major UK charity to focus exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer and on cancer as a preventable disease.

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