Originally published February 11 2009
Excess Body Fat Raises the Risk of Having Cancer
by John M. Yarlott
(NaturalNews) American people, who are overweight due to body fat and or abdominal fat, may now be able to lower their risk of having cancer naturally by changing their eating habits. Cancer is the second leading disease causing death in the US. Taking steps to avoid cancer is of national interest as well as the personal interest of people. The main cause of added body fat is when the intake of food energy exceeds the amount of energy burned. The excess food energy is stored as body fat or abdominal fat. Overweight people can achieve a leaner healthier body by increasing their physical activity or reducing their caloric intake.
An estimated 61% of Americans are overweight or obese according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control. In an American Institute of Cancer research survey only about 1 in 4 individuals knew that obesity was a cancer risk. Thus many obese Americans may be unaware that they could reduce their risk of cancer by losing weight. For more about cancer and mortality see reference (1).
Too much body fat: increases the amount of estrogen in the blood which exposes the female reproductive system to higher risk of cancer, increases the risk of acid reflux that can cause esophagus cancer, and raises the insulin level causing the body to create a hormone that causes cells to multiply (5).
In a recent report (2) the relationship between body fat and 19 different cancers was quantified by a panel of experts. Of the 19 cancers evaluated, 8 were linked to body fatness. A parameter called Person Years of Lost Life (PYLL) due to each cancer type was calculated using life expectancy tables and actual death rates of the cancers. The results are reproduced here in Table 1.
|Table 1, Cancers with increased risk due to Overweight and Obese people. The source of this information is the National Cancer Institute (2). |
|PYLL for 2004||Type of Cancer||Cause||Mitigated by|
Greater birth weight
Adult attained height
Adult weight gain
Foods with iron
Adult attained height
|Foods containing dietary fiber|
Fruits, Fish, Milk, Garlic
Foods containing Folate
Foods containing selenium
Foods containing vitamin D
Adult attained height
Foods containing folate
|257,000||Endometrium||Body Fatness |
|Non-starchy vegetables |
Foods containing B-Carotene
Foods containing vitamin C
Foods containing dietary fiber
Foods containing folate
Foods containing Pyridoxine
Foods containing vitamin E
|193,000||Kidney||Body Fatness |
Arsenic in water
|Physical activity (3) |
Fruits and vegetables (3)
|N/A||Gall Bladder||Body fatness||Physical activity (4) |
Watch less TV (4)
Recommendations were given by the Panel of experts to help people, communities, and the nation to reduce the risk of cancer through diet and exercise. These recommendations include:
* People should strive to have their Body Mass Index (BMI) in the range of 21-23.
* People should eat meals with average energy densities of 125 kcal/100 grams.
* People should avoid sugary drinks.
* People should limit fast foods.
* People should limit red meat to less than 500 g/week (18 Oz/week).
* People should eat very little, if any processed meat.
* Men should limit alcohol to two drinks per day.
*Women should limit alcohol to one drink per day where one drink contains 10-15 grams ethanol.
As an aid to help people achieve the goal of 21-23 BMI, I have created a free web page (http://foodandmortality.com/overweight) that allows them to calculate their Daily Calories and BMI. The calculator also shows their target weight and Daily calories. For example, a 50 year old man named Robert who weighs 200 pounds and is 6 feet tall with a lightly active exercise level would show the results in Table 2.
|Table 2. The calculated Results for Robert from FoodandMortality.com (6)|
|Your Daily Calories kcal||Your Body Mass Index (BMI) ||Rating ||Your Body Weight Lb. |
|2707||Current - 27.2 ||Overweight ||200 |
|2490||Hypothetical 25 ||Overweight ||184 |
|2396||Hypothetical 24 ||Normal||177 |
|2287||Hypothetical 23 ||Ideal ||169 |
|2193 ||Hypothetical 22 ||Ideal ||162 |
|2098 ||Hypothetical 21 ||Ideal ||155 |
|1990 ||Hypothetical 20 ||Normal||147|
|1895 ||Hypothetical 19 ||Normal ||140 |
|1787 ||Hypothetical 18 ||Underweight ||132 |
As Robert can see from these calculations, he would need to lower his daily calories from 2,707 to 2193 in order to achieve his ideal weight of 162 pounds when his BMI would be 22. Other outcomes are possible. It is up to Robert to decide upon his desired results.
Other cancer mitigating factors include eating foods that contain high levels of: fiber, garlic, folate, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium, B-Carotene, Pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6), and Vitamin E. Eating such foods as non-starchy vegetables, fruits, fish, and milk are also recommended. As an aid to people who wish to pursue these recommendations, I have created lists of food that are high in the above mentioned nutrients. These lists are unique in that they exclude foods that are too high in: iron, Trans fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and energy density. These lists can be found here: (http://foodandmortality.com/food_lists/defau...).
1. National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet...)
2. Cancer Trends Progress Report (http://progressreport.cancer.gov/index.asp)
3. Buzzle.com (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/kidney-cancer...)
4. TheFreeLibrary.com (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Not+everybody+...)
5. Cancer.net (http://www.cancer.net/patient/Library/Cancer...)
6. FoodandMortality.com (http://foodandmortality.com/overweight)
About the authorJohn Yarlott developed his writing skills during his career as a Mechanical Engineer with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. His work included testing jet engines and writing the test reports for use by the design and management groups. He later worked at IBM as writer of guides for computer design. He ran technical symposiums and published the hundreds of technical reports on computer packaging. John was also a store systems engineer in IBM marketing where he wrote computer programs for customers that generated reports based on transaction data in the checkout terminals. John's last assignment before retiring was as a technical support engineer for IBM's database software. During retirement he wrote training manuals for Microsoft Office Products at Hill & Knowlton, a division of WPP. He wrote web based data acquisition programs that captured human resources data in a MS Access database. The firm had offices in 52 countries therefore using the Internet to communicate with the database in New York was a time saving solution. Now retired for the second time, John has turned his attention to web publishing about matters of his own interest including health, nutrition, food economics, and global energy on his personal website: http://jmyarlott.com .
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