French agency issues cancer-nutrition advice

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

French agency issues cancer-nutrition advice
ANSES, the French Food Safety Agency, says no food supplement or singular dietary intervention can prevent the onset of a range of cancers, while concluding overall diet and lifestyle habits do matter.

ANSES issued a detailed report about the role of nutrition in halting the rise of cancer in France, coming down in favour of a balanced diet as the best action to reduce the risk of individuals developing cancer.

“Generally, to reduce the risk of excess or deficit in food or nutrients, and prevent the risk of cancer, [individuals] should have a balanced and varied diet with caloric intake adjusted for energy expenditure coupled withregular physical activity, and to achieve the recommended dietary intakes,”​ ANSES concluded.

It highlighted obesity and overweight rates, and the links to cancer from that, and called on a drop in salt intakes from the current 8.5g per day, although the level had, “declined in recent years”.

“ANSES recommends limiting consumption of energy-dense foods because they promote the risk of overweight.Furthermore, consumption of alcoholic beverages should be reduced and consumption of red meat, sausage, salt and salty foods implicated in the onset of certain cancers, should be limited.”

It backed, “Consumption of fruits and vegetables that contribute significantly to cover the needs of fibre (from cereal products), vitamins and minerals and reduce the energy density of the diet.”

The agency said fibre intake in France (18g/day) was well below the recommended dietary intakes of 30g/d for adults.

The research, conducted over four years, acknowledged the position on nutrient intake taken by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research that about a third of cancers could be prevented in western countries due to nutritional intervention.

But it concluded, “there is no food or nutrient that is ‘anticancer’ itself.”

Thus the consumption of a food, a nutrient or a dietary supplement in particular is not sufficient alone to prevent the onset of cancer.”

The agency also recently issued advice that slimming supplements could be useful but should only be taken with the advice of a health professional.

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2 comments

Right message

Posted by Yannick Dheilly,

It is always reassuring that a goverment does not fall into the marketing pits. A balanced diet, physical exercise and additive avoidance will do probably do more good than all supplements. ANSES: keep up the good job !

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False massage

Posted by Matti Tolonen,

It is regrettable that people working at national authorities like ANSES, the French Food Safety Agency, do not read scientific journals. If they would, they would know that there are a large number of anticancer nutraceuticals including berberine, carnosine, conjugated linolic acid (CLA), folic acid, isoflavonoids, lycopene, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), pro- and prebiotics, selenium, etc. Thus these authorities are sending out a misleading message discouraging the cancer patients to use dietary supplements, which might greatly improve their prognosis. Just to take one example, supplementation with highly purified fish oil, (e.g., E-EPA) 2,2 grams a day, results in increased chemotherapy efficacy without affecting the toxicity profile and may contribute to increased survival in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer.

Murphy RA, Mourtzakis M, Chu QSE, et al. Supplementation With Fish Oil Increases First-Line Chemotherapy Efficacy in Patients With Advanced Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer. Cancer 2011 American Cancer Society. In print. http://20.fi/4276

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