The American Cancer Society (ACS) has updated its guidelines for diet and physical activity for 2020. The last guidelines were published in 2012. This is the first time new guidelines have been released in eight years. The changes in the guidelines are clearly based on the same changes that I’ve seen as I researched for my cancer journey. Let’s look at these new guidelines. The American Cancer Society is clearly stating that lifestyle changes can lower cancer risk. You might be surprised at some of the changes:
More physical activity is needed.
The new guidelines recommend 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. The ACS previously recommended half as much for each of these categories. My cancer journey taught me that exercise is key to preventing cancer and surviving the treatments. If you sign up for my cancer prevention and wellness blog at www.ginnybrant.com, you can download Chapter 4 on Exercise and Movement of “Unleash Your God-Given Healing.” This chapter reveals all the many things exercise does for our bodies and especially for the cancer patient. Trust me, my exercise had to increase, and so should anyone who is trying to prevent cancer or its recurrence. Click here for more info.
Avoid or limit certain foods.
The ACS recommends avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages, red and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, deli meats and hotdogs, highly processed foods, and refined grains. Previously in 2012, the ACS recommending limiting these foods. Avoid is a much stronger word. But my personal research backs up what they are recommending.
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
The ACS specifically emphasized dark green, red and orange vegetables, fiber-rich legumes, whole foods with a variety of colors, and whole grains and brown rice. Why? The colors in these foods contain the most phytochemicals and antioxidants which both reduce risk for cancer. And whole grains and fruits and vegetables contain much needed fiber. Previously, the ACS recommended 2.5 cups per day of fruits and vegetables. This takes it to about 5 cups with more vegetables than fruits. Click here for more info
Avoid or limit alcohol.
It is best not to drink alcohol. But if you do, women should have no more than 1 drink per day and men should have no more than 2. In the past, the ACS recommended having no more than one drink for women or two for men. Again, this phrase “it is best not to drink alcohol” is a major change from “limit.”
Just today, I heard three medical experts say the same thing. Dr. Michael Klaper actually said, “Alcohol doesn’t do any good for any tissue in your body.” This is something to think about especially since alcohol is listed as a risk factor for all cancers. Here we see a move from limit to avoid. I know that red wine contains helpful bacteria and resveratrol, but these same benefits can be obtained from eating the grapes and other fermented foods. Since the ACS recommendations are based on research, I’m also wondering if what we are adding to the wine such as sulfites or the fact that many vineyards are spraying heavily with pesticides is why the research has changed.
Stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
This recommendation by the ACS remains constant. The research is clear that obesity is the number one risk factor for all cancers and many diseases including complications with Covid-19. Click here for more info
According to the ACS, at least 18 % of all cancer cases in the U.S. are related to a combination of risk factors related to diet and lack of physical activity. Therefore, following these lifestyle recommendations is the most important thing you can do to lower your cancer risk, other than smoking. Prisma’s Cancer Prevention and Wellness Center told me that genetics is only 10 percent with lifestyle being 90 percent. Here’s an advertisement billboard from a golf tournament from MD Anderson promoting the important of lifestyle changes.
The new ACS guidelines are consistent with similar findings from the American Institute for Cancer Research Report published in May 2018.
My book “Unleash Your God-Given Healing” is loaded with well-researched lifestyle changes that lower your risk for cancer and recurrence. Here’s what one of my endorsers said:
An ounce of prevention is TRULY worth a pound of cure. And lifestyle changes can only improve your prognosis. They can also prevent cancer in the first place. To recognize February’s Cancer Prevention Month, I’m offering the ebook of “Unleash Your God-Given Healing” for 99 cents. Being informed is one way to prevent cancer and survive it if you receive a diagnosis.
What diet and physical activity changes are you making to prevent cancer?
For Your Health,
Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs and was written with commentary from an oncologist. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog at www.ginnybrant.com.