Final menu labeling rules released, how they can help cancer prevention

A year from now when you dine out, you’ll be seeing just how many calories you’re ordering up with that muffin, salad or drink, thanks to the just released final FDA guidance for menu labeling. If you live in places like New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and California, you already see this information, but these new rules – part of the Affordable Health Care Act – are the first national standards for menu labeling.

bigstock-Eat-healthy-with-this-menu-of--35851439The requirements mean that any restaurant, concession stand, bakery or other eating venue with 20 or more locations will need to post calorie counts on their menu. Other nutrient information, such as saturated fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein, will need to be available upon request.

Some national restaurants have already started to do this. Enforcement for everyone begins in May 2016.

This is an important tool for cancer prevention because Americans eat at least one-third of their meals away from home – usually with more calories than meals at home. With eleven cancers now linked to obesity, this information can help Americans choose healthy, moderate calorie meals more often and help prevent over 130,000 cases of cancer every year in the US. Continue reading

Slash the Salt, Keep the Flavor and Boost Your Health

If you ate a bagel for breakfast this morning, you’ve already had a big chunk of the maximum amount of sodium you should have for the day. Going beyond that amount is pretty common though. According to a government report earlier this year, nine of ten adults consume more than the recommended amount of dietary sodium – 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is about one teaspoon.

One of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention is to limit how much salt and salty foods you eat. Our report last week found that salt preserved foods commonly eaten in Asia link to increased risk of stomach cancer and although those foods aren’t a staple in the US, Americans’ salt-loving habits lead to other health problems like high blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

A small part of that  is the salt you add at the table. Most of your sodium comes from salt already added to foods that you buy.

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Sprucing up your office snack with sweet and spicy pecans

Eating small snacks throughout the day helps you avoid dips in energy to keep you productive and alert at work. Choosing the right type of snacks can also help you maintain a healthy body weight, which is important for cancer and chronic disease prevention.

Foods that contain protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats slow the digestion process and lead to a longer feeling of satisfaction compared to processed, sugary snacks. A great snack option that includes all of these nutrients are nuts. Research has shown that eating nuts at least 4 times a week can reduce your risk of cancer. Nuts contain a variety of cancer-protective nutrients and phytochemicals, and are a good source of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

This weekend I spruced up my usual snack of plain nuts by making homemade spiced pecans with a touch of sweetness and heat. Most candied nuts you buy in the grocery store are laden with sugar and excess fat, and expensive. Instead, I prefer to make my own – it’s surprisingly easy and with a few tweaks you can make a tasty, nutritious option at home.

This recipe only takes about 20 minutes and includes just 6 simple ingredients! Here’s the full recipe: Maple Cayenne Pecans.

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To prepare, mix the pecans with all the ingredients except the coconut oil in a medium bowl so they are evenly coated. Continue reading