For Immediate Release: January 31, 2011
Contact: Mya Rae Nelson 202-328-7744

Cancer Experts: Dietary Guidelines
Could Help Lower US Cancer Rates

AICR Welcomes New Emphasis on
Obesity Prevention, Plant-Based Diets

From the old American plate to the New American Plate

Moving to the New American Plate could help lower cancer risk.

WASHINGTON, DC – Experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), the nation’s leading cancer research organization focusing on the role of diet, weight and physical activity on cancer risk and survival, today welcomed the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The Guidelines’ emphasis on avoiding sugary drinks and highly processed, calorie-dense foods was particularly welcome, the AICR experts said, as these sources of empty calories have been linked to obesity, a cause of seven different cancers.

According to AICR, excess body fat has been convincingly linked to cancers of the colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, kidney, pancreas and post-menopausal breast – and probably gallbladder as well.

In addition, the Dietary Guidelines emphasis on plant-based diets met with the cancer experts’ enthusiastic approval. "For years, the science on cancer risk has shown that diets emphasizing a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are cancer-protective," Higginbotham said. "A plant-based diet means moderating meat intake, not eliminating it altogether."

Much of the early news reports on the new Dietary Guidelines have focused on the recommendation to reduce sodium intake. "We agree that Americans are getting more salt than they need," said Higginbotham, "but one of the bonuses of eating a plant-based diet is getting more unprocessed foods and that means less sodium."

AICR estimates that over 1/3 of the most common cancers could be prevented if Americans ate healthy diets, increased their physical activity and stayed lean. "The Dietary Guidelines echo AICR’s advice for lowering cancer risk," said Higginbotham. "We’re thrilled to see obesity prevention, and thus cancer prevention, being placed front-and-center, where they belong."

Plant-Based, Plate-Based Messages Work, Says AICR

AICR advocates a plant-based diet in their education efforts, and has done so for over two decades. AICR’s popular and award-winning New American Plate approach to planning healthy, cancer-protective meals shows how Americans can eat according to the Guidelines every day.

AICR Registered Dietitian Alice Bender said, "People have told us that thinking in terms of the plate is a simple, visual approach that helps them turn advice into action at every meal."

Americans can find simple tips, tools and recipes for bringing the new Guidelines home on the AICR website.

Experts Speaking With One Voice

"When the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released their report last June, we were gratified to see that that the evidence-based conclusions of our AICR/WCRF expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, were cited throughout," said Bender.

According to Bender, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines clearly demonstrate that the best advice for lowering cancer risk lines up with advice for preventing heart disease, obesity and many chronic diseases.

The Policy Perspective

Late in 2010, AICR published an executive summary of its policy report, which placed AICR/WCRF’s cancer prevention recommendations in a US public health context.

"The main point that emerged from the AICR/WCRF policy report is that all members of society need to make changes, including the food industry, government, health professionals and individual Americans," said Higginbotham. "We believe the obesity crisis is too urgent, and the time for pointing fingers is over.

"What the Dietary Guidelines are saying is: We must all work to make it easier for Americans to make healthy choices. That’s something we at AICR agree with. Because we’re all in this together."

USDA Website


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is part of the global network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International, a membership association that operates as the umbrella organization for the network. The other charities in the WCRF network are World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (; Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (; World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (; and Fonds Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (


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