The Challenge of Adherence to Cancer-Preventing Diets Among Americans

Key Takeaways:

  • 63% to 73% of US adults fall short of the recommended daily intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and around 90% do not consume the recommended 30 grams of fiber per day, potentially impacting their risk of developing cancer.
  • A significantly higher percentage of obese individuals fail to meet the recommended dietary guidelines for fiber, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains. Moreover, they tend to cross the weekly limit of red meat consumption and consume more fast food.
  • Added sugar intake among the US population generally exceeds the maximum recommended limit of 10% of total daily calories.
  • Following a plant-based diet focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, and nuts is strongly endorsed to mitigate noncommunicable disease risk and ensure long-term health.
  • Even partial adherence to these dietary guidelines can bring health benefits, and individuals are encouraged to improve their eating habits gradually, such as reducing eating out, especially at fast-food outlets, and increasing intake of vegetables, grains, beans, etc. in homemade meals.

Most US adults appear to struggle with following dietary guidelines known for potentially lowering cancer risk, claims a recent study.

Insights from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

An exploration of data from close to 31,000 US adult participants in the yearly National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was performed. The study of their dietary intake over the past 24 hours revealed that a staggering 63% to 73% fell short of the recommended daily servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Moreover, approximately 90% failed to consume the suggested 30 grams of fiber per day.

Overweight and Obesity: Other Diet-Related Problems in Focus

Out of the sample, roughly 70% were found to be overweight or obese. In particular, obese individuals, constituting nearly 36% of the volunteers, were significantly less likely than others to meet the recommended intakes of fiber, fruit, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains.

Obese adults also tended to cross the approved weekly limit of 18 ounces of red meat and reportedly had fast food on the survey day.

Excessive Added Sugar Consumption, and Other Findings

Across the board, added sugar intake exceeded the stipulated maximum limit of less than 10% of total daily calories, the study reported in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics pointed out.

“We’re promoting a major shift towards a plant-based dietary pattern teeming with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, and nuts, while curbing saturated fats and sodium,” explained Colleen Spees, a leading author of the study and an associate professor of medical dietetics in Ohio State University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

“Adapting dietary and physical activity habits to closely match these evidence-backed guidelines over time is crucial to mitigate noncommunicable disease risk and foster lifelong health and wellbeing,” Spees further commented.

“American citizens’ transition to these guidelines could result in decreased rates of obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure,” she elaborated.

These guidelines are jointly provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Partial Compliance to Guidelines Can Still Be Beneficial

For those unable to fully abide by these guidelines, Spees suggests that any adherence is preferable over complete neglect. For instance, reduce eating out, particularly at fast-food outlets, and uncover flavorful methods to incorporate more vegetables, grains, and beans into homemade meals.

More Resources

The American Academy of Family Physicians provides dietary guidance to prevent cancer.

The original study findings were issued by Ohio State University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *