from the AICR Newsletter #116, Summer 2012

Look, Ma – No Calorie Counting!

Christine Rosenbloom, MS, RDChristine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, is a breast cancer survivor who hosts a popular nutrition blog. Below, she shares simple steps for eating fewer calories while you eat more cancer-fighting foods.

As one of this country's 12 million cancer survivors, I am often asked about special foods to prevent cancer recurrence. Instead of pinning our hopes on goji berries from Tibet, the science in AICR's expert report and its updates say maintaining a healthy weight is the best thing you can do to reduce your cancer risk.

I know that this is not as exciting as eating "super foods" or taking supplements. But excess body fat needs to be warded off with a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Fat tissue increases insulin and estrogen, two hormones that fuel cancer cell development.

We all know that weight loss "diets" don’t work for lasting change. So how can we lose weight without counting calories?

Believe it or not, it isn't impossible: try these easy steps to reduce calories while enjoying the foods you love.

Pump up the Volume

Increasing the amount of food we eat even while we're decreasing the calories has two major benefits:

  • Lower calorie-dense foods fill us up so we are less hungry.
  • We can eat more fruits and vegetables that also protect our health.

Fruit and vegetables are high in water but low in calories. If you regularly eat more of these cancer-fighting foods, you can cut back on higher calorie foods. Just substitute beans or grated carrots and green peppers for half the meat in chili or meatballs. No calorie counting needed!

Broth-based soup or a salad eaten before a meal can also help you eat less of the entrée that follows and still feel satisfied.

Calories, Portions and Plates, Oh My

Did you know burning off the calories in a fried chicken dinner with a sweetened beverage would require a 143-pound woman to walk for more than 9 hours?

Instead of worrying about foods' calories, think about their fat and sugar content. Naturally low-calorie vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans contain little or no added sugar and/or fat.

When dining out, choose the “small plate” option or order an appetizer as your main course. Don’t be shy about telling the server you don't want high calorie dressings, sauces, bread and chips.

Eating 5 A Day

How many nuts in a serving?
(1 ounce = 1 serving)

  • 23 almonds
  • 18 cashews
  • 49 pistachios
  • 14 walnut halves

When you eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and veggies every day, you'll also boost the cancer-fighting compounds you take in.

A small glass of 100 percent fruit juice and 1/2 cup of berries on your morning cereal totals 2 servings for breakfast. Add a veggie-packed salad at lunch. I use leftover salad from dinner and roll it into a high-fiber whole-grain bread with a couple of ounces of tuna or turkey. For dinner, sauté colorful peppers, broccoli, asparagus and onion in olive oil and serve over a cup (2 servings) of whole-grain pasta or brown rice.

Make Snacks Count

Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans all make tasty snacks. Nuts are high in calories, but an ounce can supply vitamins and fiber and be combined with vegetables and fruits say, peanut butter (2 Tbsp. equal one serving) on celery or apple wedges.

More Food and Fewer Calories
Instead of
Sandwich (480 calories)
Sandwich (300 calories)
  • 2 slices of wheat bread
  • 4 ounces of ham
  • 2 ounces of cheese
  • Whole grain sandwich bread, thin-sliced
  • 2 ounces of turkey
  • 1 ounce of cheese
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach



All active news articles