Switching to Whole Grains, Limiting Pork, and Inheriting Diabetes

Q: Are there ways to make the switch from refined grains to whole grains less obvious?
Q: Are pork and venison included in advice to limit red meat?
Q: When parents develop diabetes, are their children fairly certain to develop it too?

Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Are there ways to make the switch from refined grains to whole grains less obvious?
A: One way to make the transition from refined to whole grains is to start with mixed dishes rather than dishes where the grain stands alone. Try whole wheat pasta in dishes full of tomato sauce, such as lasagna or penne pasta with lots of vegetables. Use brown rice or barley in stuffed peppers or vegetable soup. Try bulgur or quinoa in casseroles or stir-fries. Adding the mild flavored spice turmeric adds a golden color that makes the switch to whole grains less obvious while you get used to the change. You might even make a whole grain pilaf with a mixture of wild rice and brown rice, broth and spices. The New American Plate Cookbook, produced by the American Institute for Cancer Research, combines whole grains with dried apricots, cranberries and cherries plus toasted nuts to make an easy but gourmet-style dish. Whole grains have so many nutritional advantages over refined grains that it’s definitely worth working on this transition.

Q: Are pork and venison included in advice to limit red meat?
A: Traditionally, “red meat” has indicated beef, lamb, pork and veal. Red meat recommendations and study findings are generally based on this traditional definition of red meat. Although pork may look “white” when cooked, its nutritional composition categorizes it as a red meat. And although venison may be similar to red meats, it is not included in the traditional definition of red meat because it has been considered wild game. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends limiting red meat to no more than three ounces a day. This recommendation is based on studies that suggest a link between increased cancer risk and greater red meat consumption. For now “game” is not included in the three-ounce limit, but as game meat becomes more common researchers will determine whether it belongs in a separate category. Researchers are still trying to determine what aspects of red meat pose increased cancer risk. Currently, scientists say the greater colon cancer risk from red meat rather than poultry and fish may be due to its higher levels of a particular form of iron called heme. Heme iron seems to damage the lining of the colon and stimulate inappropriate cell growth. As studies provide more answers, the definition of which meats are riskier will become clearer.

Q: When parents develop diabetes, are their children fairly certain to develop it too?
A: People with a family history of diabetes have greater odds of developing the disease, but several large studies show that a healthy lifestyle can cut risk of type 2 diabetes by 50 to 60 percent. One of the most important steps for preventing type 2 diabetes (the most common form) is to reach and maintain a healthy weight. In type 2 diabetes the body does not produce or is resistant to the hormone insulin. Daily physical activity helps weight control, and studies suggest activity also reduces insulin resistance. Food choices also affect type 2 diabetes risk. Limiting saturated fat to no more than 22 grams per day for the average adult seems to lower risk, making lean meats and low-fat dairy products good choices. Eating at least three servings daily of whole grain products is also linked with lower diabetes risk. The good news: each of these steps not only is part of tested strategies for diabetes prevention, but also recommended for lower risk of cancer and heart disease. Eating fish or other good sources of omega-3 fats such as flaxseed and walnuts at least twice a week may also reduce diabetes risk. Our genes may make us more or less vulnerable to diseases like diabetes and cancer, but the importance of lifestyle choices means there’s no reason to feel “doomed.”

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research www.aicr.org

Share.

About Author

Posts By 3FC