Diet and Cancer... What Is the Link?

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Diet and Cancer... What is the Link?

Today we know that too much of a certain type of foods can have harmful effects on our health and well-being and we are learning that diseases such as cancer are caused in part by our dietary choices.

In the 1950's scientists discovered relationship between diet and coronary heart disease, the nations number one killer. In the last 15 year a link between cancer and diet has been discovered by scientists.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an organization of the nation's foremost scientists found evidence so persuasive that in their landmark report Diet, Nutrition and Cancer of 1982 they insisted Americans to begin changing their diets to reduce their risk of developing cancer. The results of the study were supported by later research done by NAS, the Surgeon General, Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, and the National Institute of Health.

Based mainly on the study by NAS done in 1982, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) devised a guideline with four parts to help lower people's risk of developing cancer. The guidelines have been updated since then to reflect recent research on the link.

The AICR guidelines are:
1. Reduce the intake of total dietary fat to a level of no more than 30% of total calories and, in particular, reduce the intake of saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories.
2. Increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
3. Consume salt-cured, salt-pickled and smoked foods only in moderation.
4. Drink alcoholic beverages only in moderation, if at all.*

Most cancers start when the body is exposed to a carcinogen, a cancer- causing substance that is found everywhere in our environment for example in sunlight. When the body is exposed to this substance it can usually destroy the carcinogen without malignant effects. If any of the substance eludes the body's defense system it can alter a cell's genes to make it become a...
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