The Diet Factor

Given the general state of our dietary habits, whereby processed foods take center stage in the lives of millions. A plausible argument to explain why many Americans fail to meet their calcium needs is the mere lack of good nutrition.

What’s more, eating a healthy diet is a little-known but extremely important way to prevent skin cancer. A 1995 study published in the International Journal of Cancer reported that people who ate a low-fat diet had 90 percent less chance of getting skin cancer than those who ate a high-fat diet. Conversely, a diet high in fat shortens the time between UV exposure and the onset of skin cancer and increases the number of tumors that develop. According to this same article, the magnitude of the dietary effect is almost directly related to the amount and kind of fat consumed (saturated fat appears to be most closely related to skin cancer).

Unfortunately, for a century now, the American diet has been getting higher in fat – especially in the extra-unhealthy saturated fats. This may partly explain why skin cancer rates have gone up, as well as diabetes and heart disease. The average American diet is about 16 percent saturated fat, whereas most qualified dieticians will tell you it should be no more than one third of that. To make matters worse, there has been a trend toward fad weight-loss programs advocating high fat content (the Atkins diet is probably the best know of these).

Leaving aside whether these diets actually work in the long term to help people keep weight off, diets high in saturated fat may cause a variety of life-threatening health problems and probably contribute to skin cancer, not to mention all other types of cancer. But you don’t necessarily have to go on a traditional “diet” to achieve the results you’re looking for. You just need to start moving toward foods lower in saturated fat and try to limit or evict those foods that contain excessive amounts of fat – which is typically found in processed products (which also usually contain lots of salt and sugar) and marbled meats. There are several excellent eating plans out there that advocate eating this way.

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