Cancer linked to poor diet.

September sees yet more research reporting that eating foods with low nutritional quality ratings is linked to cancer risk. Following on from other large studies we reported on earlier this year, in this large multinational European cohort, the consumption of food products with lower nutritional quality (with a higher FSAm-NPS score) was associated with a higher risk of cancer.

The study was carried out as part of an evaluation of how to help consumers make healthier food choices, to help prevent cancer and other chronic diseases. The labelling system under consideration to evaluate the food products was the Nutri-Score, a five-colour nutrition label based on the Nutrient Profiling System of the British Food Standards Agency (modified version) (FSAm-NPS) score. This is calculated for each food/beverage using its 100-g content in energy, sugar, saturated fatty acids, sodium, fibres, proteins, and fruits/vegetables/legumes/nuts. It has already been selected by French authorities but remains optional per European labelling regulations, but this study was part of a comprehensive assessment of the FSAm-NPS validity as underlying nutrient profiling system for front-of-pack nutrition labels (as well as other public health nutritional measures) in Europe.

In a study comprising over 470,000 adults from 10 European countries with just shy of 50,000 newly diagnosed cancer cases, the researchers analysed the association between the FSAm-NPS score of the food consumed and cancer risk in the large and diverse EPIC cohort – the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

The consumption of foods with higher FSAm-NPS scores, reflecting a lower nutritional quality, was associated with an increased risk of developing cancer (overall and several specific cancer sites including breast, prostate and colon).

These findings will add support to the relevance of using the FSAm-NPS to grade the nutritional quality of food products as a basis for prevention strategies for cancer and other chronic diseases.  In our own poll carried out this year, the public supported clear warning labels, where the Chileans have shown the way – requiring packaged food to display black warning logos in the shape of a stop sign on items high in sugar, salt, calories or saturated fat. Cereal bars, yogurts and juice boxes, products long advertised as “healthy,” “natural” or “fortified with vitamins and minerals,” carry one or more of the black warning labels.

Make eating real food Just Routine

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