Many causes of death are linked to diet & exercise 

"If medical error were considered a disease, a new study has found, it would be the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and   cancer," -reported the New York Times in May.

The new study, based largely on a 2000-2002 study of Medicare patients, estimated that roughly 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical errors.1 That's less than the two leading causes of death-heart disease and cancer-which hover around 600,000 each.

But those population-wide numbers obscure differences among age groups. For people aged 45 to 84, cancer is the leading killer (see below). Lung cancer alone accounts for roughly 158,000-27 percent-of all cancer deaths, followed by colorectal (49,000), breast (40,000), and prostate (26,000) cancer.2

In the table below, we've colored all causes of death that are at least partly related to diet and exercise. That includes Alzheimer's disease, because a healthy diet and exercise can lower your odds of other kinds of memory loss that are hard to distinguish from Alzheimer’s.

   Leading Causes of Death By Age Group, 2013

Rank  25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75-84 85+ All Ages
1 Accidents 16,209 Accidents 15,354 Cancer 46,185 Cancer 113,324 Cancer 155,552 Cancer 153,214 Heart Disease 242,469 Heart Disease 611,105
2 Suicide 6,348 Cancer 11,349 Heart Disease 35,167 Heart Disease 72,568 Heart Disease 98,432 Hear Disease 147,255 Cancer 98,792 Cancer 584,881
3 Homicide 4,236 Heart Disease 10,341 Accidents 20,357 Accidents 17,057 COPD & Emphysema 35,603 COPD & Emphysema 49,346 Alzheimer's Disease 56,152 COPD & Emphysema 149,205
4 Cancer 3,673 Suicide 6,551 Liver Disease 8,785 COPD & Emphysema 15,942  Stroke 18,722 Stroke 36,151 Stroke 54,729  Accidents 130,557
5 Heart Disease 3,258 Homicide 2,581 Suicide 8,621 Diabetes 13,061 Diabetes 17,279 Alzheimer's Disease 23,073 COPPD & Emphysema 42,245 Stroke 128,978
6 Diabetes 684 Liver Disease 2,491 Diabetes 5,899 Liver Disease 11,951 Accidents 10,967 Diabetes 19,587 Influenza & Pneumonia 26,641 Alzheimer's Disease 84,767
7 Liver Disease 676 Diabetes 1,952 Stroke 5,425 Stroke 11,364 Kidney Disease 8,524 Accidents 14,438 Accidents 20,537 Diabetes 75,578
8 HIV/AIDS 631 Stroke 1,687 COPD & Empysema 4,619 Suicide 7,135 Blood Infection 7,693 Influenza & Pneumonia 13,949 Kidney Disease 17,239 Influenza & Pneumonia 56,979
9 Strokes 
HIV/AIDS 1,246 Blood Infection 2,445 Blood Infection 5,345 Influenza & Pneumonia 7,441 Kidney Disease 13,317 Diabetes 16,885 Kidney Disease 47,112
10 Influenza & Pneumonia  449 Influenza & Pneumonia 881 HIV/AIDS 2,378 Kidney Disease 4,947 Liver Disease 7,087 Parkinson's Disease 10,549 Hypertension 13,991 Suicide 
























Source: Natl. Vital Stat. Rep. 65 (2): 1, 2016. 1BMJ 2016. doi:10.1136/bmj.i2139.  2Cancer Facts & Figures 2016, American Cancer Society. Note: COPDis chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Red meat & the Pancreas

  Diets high in red meat - beef , pork,lamb and veal - may raise the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Reashercers tracked roughly 528,000 AARP members who filled out diet questionnaires.
     After 10 years, men who reported eating the most red meat (at least 8.5 oz. a day) had 40 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer than men who ate the least (2.2 oz. or less). Those who ate the most red meat cooked at higher temperatures also had a higher risk than those who ate the least .
     The scientists found no link in women, who ate less red meat and were less likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than men. 
      The researchers found evidence that centain AGEs (advance glycation end product) could help explain the link between red meat and pancreatic cancer. AGEs, which increase when foods are cooked at higher temperatures, may harm the pancreas by causeing inflammation and insulin resistance.

What to do: This study doesn't prove that red meat causes pancreatic cancer. But it's worth shooting for no more than 18 oz. per week to lower your risk of colo rectal cancer. 

     To lower AGEs, cook meats at lower temperatures or steam, stew, or poach rather than boil, roast, fry, or sear them. marinating meats in marinades that contain vinegar, lemon juice, or other acidic liquids can also lower AGEs. 

Am. J. C/in. Nutr. 101: 126, 2015.

         Stomach Cancer Defense                                                                                

worldwide, stomach cancer kills more people tha n any cancers other than l ung and liver. U.S. stomach  cancer  rates  have  plummeted in the last 85 years, but five-year surviva l rates are sti l l   only around 30 percent. According to a new u pdate by the Ameri­ can Institute for Cancer Research, here's how to lower you r risk:

  • Avoid processed meats.That incl udes any meat that's been preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or with addi­ tives like nitrites. Some examples: bacon, ham, bologna, hot dogs, and some sausages.
  • Lose (or don't gain} excess pounds. People who are overweight or obese have a greater risk.
  • Minimize salt-preserved foods.Studies in East Asia find a higher risk in people who consume pickled vegeta bles and salted or dried fish , but the evi­ dence is insufficient in other regions of the world.
  • Limit alcohol. People who consum e three drinks a day have a higher risk.

The new report found only lim ited evidence that eating grilled, broiled, or bar­ becued  meat or fish  or eating too  little fruit increases stomach  cancer risk.   iles/Stomach-Cancer-2016-Report.pdf.

     Can Coffee Prevent Liver Cancer?  

Can coffe lower your risk of cancer? The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrion, a study that has tracked more than 520,00 people from 10 countries for 15 years, suggests that it does. Researchers compared the coffee intakes reported by 125 healthy people who were later diagnosed with the most common  liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) to the intakes reported by250 similar people without the disease. AThose who drank at least 2Y2 cups of coffee a day had a 75 percent lower risk of liver cancer than those who drank less than 11 cups a day. What's more, the coffee drinkers had lower blood levels of interleukin- 6 ( an indicator of inflammation) and other markers of liver injury, which could explain how coffee may protect the liver. The study didnt look at decaf and regular coffee separately. 

   What to do: it's too early to aim for four cups of coffee a day to protect your liver. Kepp in mind that one venti at starbucks holds 2 1/2 cups, and the caffeinated coffee can make you jittery and increase the risk, of miscarring. But if you enjoy coffee, there 's noreason to stop. Reasearchers also find that coffee drinkers have lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and that caffeinated coffee lowers the risk of parkinson's disease. 

Am. J. C/in. Nutr. 102: 1498, 2015.



Article by Bonnie Liebman & Lindsay Moyer for the Nutrition Action Healthletter , June 2016