Food safety is as simple as ABC: Always Be Careful

food safetyIt’s mid-day and you are trying to figure out what to have for dinner. You decide on meatloaf, but the ground sirloin is in the freezer. Since you have a few hours, you set it on the counter to thaw and proceed to the next thing on your to do list. Despite what your parents may think or what you have done for years, this is not the safest way to thaw meat.

World Health Day, celebrated each year in April, is focused on food safety. Increase your understanding and awareness by following the tips below.

Keep clean

  • Wash hands, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, before cooking and when switching tasks, such as cutting raw meat to cutting raw vegetables.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with cool running water and a soft brush before cutting, slicing or shredding.

Separate raw and cooked

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A Consequence of Obesity: Increased Cancer Risk

The statistics are alarming and worth sharing: over the past 20 years the number of overweight and obese children and adults continues to climb.  Only 1/3 of people in the United States maintains a healthy body weight — that means 2/3 of the population is considered overweight or obese.

We should be concerned. Excess weight has multiple consequences including enhanced risk for developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke, among other conditions.

In fact, if you are a man and are obese, you have an increased risk of developing male breast cancer and cancers of the colon/rectum, prostate, pancreas, kidney, esophagus and others.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 of every 3 cancers is related to excess body weight, poor nutrition or being inactive. If the rising trend in obesity continues, it’s predicted there will be 500,000 additional cases of cancer in the U.S. by 2030.

The National Cancer Institute says research reveals obesity and the development of cancer are linked together in a couple of different ways:

  • fat produces excess hormones (like estrogen and insulin) that encourages the growth of certain types of cancers
  • fat cells can affect cell growth regulation that may result in fostering  tumor growth
  • obesity can result in a chronic inflammation process which impacts the immune system function

Recently, HBO, in partnership with the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the CDC and others released an online documentary titled “The Weight of the Nation”. Watching all or just a few of the videos will be time well spent. It’s a great way to learn more about obesity and get suggestions for ways to take action for yourself, your family or your community.

What action you’ve taken for targeting or staying at a healthy weight? Post your answer below.

Learn more about the risks of obesity and get tips on weight loss

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Taming the flame for Memorial Day weekend

Each year University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians field questions from patients about whether it’s safe to grill, given the evidence that grilled meats may contain cancer-causing agents. But new guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research suggest that the type of food you grill may be more important than how you prepare it.

Hot dogs and hamburgers — the all-American summer standards — may be among the worst culprits in causing colorectal cancer. Research has shown a convincing link between diets high in processed meat and red meat — which includes beef, pork and lamb. Every 3.5 ounces of processed meat — about two hot dogs — increases the risk for colorectal cancer by 42 percent.

Given the data, we recommend that our patients follow AICR guidelines. Limit the amount of red meat you eat. Think of it as an occasional indulgence. Make processed meats including hot dogs a treat for a special occasion — like an annual outing at the ballpark. Use these guidelines year round to lower your risk.

And this summer, continue to use caution when grilling. All animal meats produce cancer-causing chemicals when they are seared at high temperatures-whether on a grill or on a conventional stove. It’s still unclear whether eating these chemicals will increase your cancer risk. But while researchers continue to learn more about whether there’s a link between grilling and cancer, you can protect yourself and still enjoy a backyard barbecue. Read on to learn strategies to limit your exposure. Continue reading