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Cancer and Nutrition Myths, Trends, and Real Answers

Yamileth Martino, dietitian at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University Health Centre Foundation, addresses common nutrition and cancer myths, trends, and evidence-based dietary advice in this workshop. She clarifies that no specific food item directly causes cancer but highlights certain dietary factors associated with increased cancer risk, including overweight, saturated fats, alcohol consumption, and low physical activity levels. Martino emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet in cancer prevention and management, debunking myths around sugar, organic foods, soy products, and “superfoods.” She also discusses the role of diets like the ketogenic and intermittent fasting as adjunct therapies in cancer treatment, pointing out that these should be pursued under professional guidance due to potential nutrient deficiencies. Martino advocates for a plant-based diet, highlighting its benefits in reducing cancer risk and supporting overall health. She addresses specific concerns such as the safety of artificial sweeteners, the importance of avoiding food avoidances, and the potential of turmeric as an adjunct therapy in cancer treatment. The workshop underscores the importance of a well-rounded diet, incorporating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and maintaining hydration, especially during cancer treatment. Martino advises caution with alcohol and emphasizes the importance of physical activity and managing weight through dietary choices. She concludes by recommending the Canadian Food Guide as a model for healthy eating, emphasizing the importance of professional dietary advice for cancer patients and survivors.
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