Eating Well to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Written by Sylvia Geiger MS, RD, CD, Price Chopper Community Nutritionist

I’m seeing pink everywhere I go. Last night I even drove behind a pink cement truck!  Well it’s for a good reason; October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Unfortunately, breast cancer has touched the lives of almost every one of us. It may be your mother, sister, close friend, or perhaps it’s your own health that has been afflicted.  Whatever the case, it is an equally sad and devastating diagnosis.  We are all searching for a cure and some clear-cut prevention guidelines.

Many researchers have looked at what and how much we eat to see if there is a causative relationship between diet and breast cancer. Unfortunately, no clear association has been established.  There are no super foods that will prevent cancer nor are there specific foods to avoid.  The National Cancer Institute says “There is no direct link between eating certain foods and breast cancer.”

However, that doesn’t mean that diet isn’t important.  Two known risk factors for breast cancer, obesity and alcohol consumption, are related to dietary intake.  The National Cancer Institute recommends that women limit alcohol to one drink per day as well as achieving and maintaining a normal weight-for-height for cancer prevention.

Therefore, the best-known way to prevent cancer is a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise and an all- around healthy diet.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before.  A healthy diet is one that meets (not exceeds) your caloric needs and is based on whole-grains, plenty of fruits & vegetables, lean protein such as poultry, fish, lean cuts of red meats, beans & legumes and lean dairy foods.  Check out the new chooseMyPlate.gov  website for ways to upgrade your plate.

Learn how YOU can be part of finding the cure.  Visit the National Breast Cancer Awareness website and remember to treat yourself right by making half your plate fruits and vegetables!

Quick Ideas for Making Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables

Recipe Ideas using this week’s Sale items

Shredded Turkey & Pinto Bean Burritos

Grilled Shrimp Caesar

Boneless Pork Loin with Herb Pepper Rub   with Roasted Red Potatoes

Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Salad Rigatoni

Baked Haddock with Cracker Crumb Crust  served with Butternut Squash Pilaf

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Topping

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  One thought on “Eating Well to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

  1. October 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Did you really put up a picture of a can of green beans in support of breast cancer awareness month? And is there really a pink ribbon on the can?

    Please, please tell me that this can of beans is a specially produced one that is not lined with bisphenol A (commonly referred to as BPA).

    Because from what I have read from a variety of sources, this endocrine-disrupting chemical has multiple ties specifically to breast cancer (in addition to other ailments).

    I do not have an MS, RD or CD so perhaps you would like to weigh in on some of the concerns raised by the following sources about the connection between BPA and breast cancer in particular.

    1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A#Breast_cancer
    2) http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/chemicals-glossary/bisphenol-a.html
    3) http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0901/p565.html

    Calling attention to breast cancer is great. Please keep up the good work. But doing it on canned vegetables, which may very well be part of the problem, is a decision that should be reevaluated.

    • October 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Hi Daniel,

      Bisphenol A has been in the news for some time now, and the science continues to evolve. At the current time, multiple health agencies around the world, including the World Health Organization, European Food Safety Institute, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand have concluded that BPA levels in the human body are very low, and the November 2010 WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations expert meeting concluded that “at this time no public health measures are needed.”

      That being said, we do understand the concern and potential disconnect you saw with the green bean can being part of our blog posting. From our perspective, the green bean can with the pink ribbon offers an insight into our commitment to the health of our communities, and a substantial focus on supporting breast cancer research and ensuring our guests can make nutritious choices throughout the store. We are proud of our annual corporate brand campaign that raises awareness and $250,000 for breast cancer initiatives and that we specially package 32 of our Price Chopper brand products to carry this message throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A no added salt can of green beans earns a 100 in the NuVal Nutrition scoring program, the highest nutrition score available. Much of our work force is women, most of our guests are women – we think this is very important.

      We continue to work with our trade partners and understand the science and regulatory requirements as this issue continues to be investigated. Thank you for the comment, it will help us be sure to keep the whole picture in mind as we bring our health efforts forward.

      -Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist

  2. October 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I am no scientist, but to suggest that BPA, “has been in the news for some time now, and the science continues to evolve” and then citing a handful of studies that declare it safe, including one from 2010, feels dismissive of more current and mounting scientific findings that connect BPA to breast cancer.

    The following paragraph comes from an article just earlier this month in Mother Jones magazine. I’ve tried to include the links to all the scientific studies they cite for your review.

    The United States’ President’s Cancer Panel concluded in 2010 that "more than 130 studies have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity, and other health problems." A number of studies have found that the chemical causes breast cancer in lab animals. In human cell cultures, BPA has caused breast cancer cells to proliferate and has also reduced the effectiveness of chemotherapy. In September, a study by the California Pacific Medical Center found that BPA even made healthy breast cells behave like cancer cells and decreased the effectiveness of yet another breast cancer drug. Frighteningly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that BPA is in the urine of more than 90 percent of the United States population. Researchers believe this figure reflects continuous exposure to the chemical.

    I don’t know what went into the 2010 statement by the WHO and UN. But Consumer Reports has found that in America, the canned foods they tested contained concentrations of BPA far greater than those that the EPA had designated safe.
    http://www.rodale.com/bpa-canned-food?page=0%2C0

    If you don’t like reading, you can always watch the video:

    Now some have argued that finding an alternative to BPA lined cans isn’t as easy as it may seem. This has me flummoxed since there are already BPA-free lined cans on store shelves. The below link is to a GoodHousekeeping.com story on the BPA-Breast Cancer link highlights just one of the national manufacturers that has found a solution.
    http://bit.ly/ThisCanHasNoBPA

    Your support of the fight against breast cancer is to be commended, and I am indeed aware that other products besides canned foods also are part of this promotion.

    But as I mentioned to @PriceChoppeNY on Twitter, this whole thing feels very similar to what happened with Yoplait and their support of breast cancer research on their product which contained rBGH. 

    Yoplait ended up reformulating their product after being publicly and nastily accused of pink-washing. Like BPA, there may not be absolute irrefutable scientific proof about a chemical-to-cancer link, but there was a mounting body of evidence.

    I’m bringing these studies (both from the realms of science and marketing) to your attention, not to start an argument, or call Price Chopper to task on what I believe was a poor judgement call. But I’m mentioning these things because there is an opportunity for Price Chopper to get ahead of all this and be a true leader in the fight against breast cancer.

    Nothing would fill me with greater pride than to be able to say that our local grocery store that has been a strident supporter of breast cancer research, is making a positive change for women’s health by switching to non-BPA lined cans.

    Maybe you can even do it by next October in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2012. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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