Updated diet, physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention

June 15, 2020 in Cancer Prevention, Healthy Eating, Nutrition Topics in the News, Sports Nutrition and Exercise

Updated diet, physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention

This month, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released its updated its guidelines for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. The updated recommendations increase recommended levels of physical activity and have an increased emphasis on reducing the consumption of processed and red meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed foods and alcohol.

They also include evidenced-based strategies to reduce barriers to healthy eating and active living and to reduce alcohol consumption.

ACS cancer prevention recommendations are revised regularly as evidence emerges.

The updated recommendations are based on systematic reviews conducted by the International Agency on Cancer Research (IARC), the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR), and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services (USDA/HHS). The latest update is consistent with the recommendations from those groups as well as other major recommending bodies. 

Based on the review of the evidence, the updated guideline reflects a few key differences from the previous ACS guidelines:

Physical Activity

Previous

Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. 

New

Adults should engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week; achieving or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is optimal. 

Diet

Previous

Consume a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods. Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Limit consumption of processed meat and red meat. Eat at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and fruits each day. Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products. 

New

Follow a healthy eating pattern at all ages. A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • Foods that are high in nutrients in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
  • A variety of vegetables--dark green, red, and orange, fiber-rich legumes (beans and peas), and others
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits with a variety of colors
  • Whole grains

A healthy eating pattern limits or does not include: 

  • Red and processed meats
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Highly processed foods and refined grain products. 

Alcohol

Previous

If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit consumption. Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men. 

New

It is best not to drink alcohol. People who do choose to drink alcohol should limit their consumption to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. 

Recommendation for Community Action

Previous

Public, private, and community organizations should work collaboratively at national, state, and local levels to implement policy and environmental changes that: 

  • Increase access to affordable, healthy foods in communities, worksites, and schools, and decrease access to and marketing of foods and beverages of low nutritional value, particularly to youth. 
  • Provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible environments for physical activity in schools and worksites, and for transportation and recreation in communities. 

New

Public, private, and community organizations should work collaboratively at national, state, and local levels to develop, advocate for, and implement policy and environmental changes that increase access to affordable, nutritious foods; provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible opportunities for physical activity; and limit alcohol for all individuals. 

Source: American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention; CA Cancer J Clin, June 9, 2020.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.