Will changing my eating pattern lower my risk of cancer?

8:09 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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By Kay Quinn Healthbeat Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) - Twenty percent of all cancers are caused by obesity. So, is there any benefit to eating smaller, more frequent meals like someone with diabetes?

It's the subject of this week's 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer segment.

"That's an interesting question," said Dr. Graham Coliditz, Associate Director of Prevention and Control at the Siteman Cancer Center, and the Niess-Gain professor at Washington University School of Medicine.

And one scientists have tried to answer.

"A lot of studies in children and young adults look at the pattern of eating and in particular weight gain," said Dr. Colditz. "Clearly in that setting, eating more meals tends to result in more caloric intake."

Which doesn't lower cancer risk, since weight gain can increase your chances of developing it.

What about eating the same amount of calories but just spreading them out into smaller portions throughout the day?

"That would in all likelihood not impact weight," said Dr. Colditz, "and the studies linking pattern of consumption are still very few, and really no conclusive evidence."

But if eating more frequent meals helps you cut your calories, then you might be doing your health a favor.

"Twnty percent of all cancers deaths are really caused by adult weight gain, obesity," said Dr. Colditz. "And over a lifetime, avoiding the weight gain will absolutely translate into lower cancer risk."


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