The Big C: Cancer and Diet

Statistically speaking, we all probably know someone who is struggling with or has struggled with cancer. And everyone wants to reduce their risk. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 45% of cancer deaths are related to modifiable risks. On our latest show, we dig into some of the common questions and our guest gives expert recommendations about how we can eat (and live, hello exercise and stress management!) to prevent or support our health and reduce our risk of cancer.

Shayna Komar is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian in Atlanta, Ga.. She completed her undergraduate degree in Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech and her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Shayna currently contracts with Cancer Wellness of Piedmont Hospital where she provides individual counseling, cooking workshops and group lectures for cancer patients and caregivers. As a passionate and energetic women, she helps bring food to life for the cancer patient. Shayna was the proud recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Dietitian of the Year award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has also presented nutrition lectures all over the United States. She is regularly featured on Accent Health with CNN, Fox News Atlanta, WSBTV Radio, and 11Alive Atlanta and Company. Shayna was awarded the “Top 10 RD’s in the Nation” from Today’s Dietitian Magazine- March 2019. For the past 20 years she has been a certified group fitness instructor and continues to teach weekly classes. She conducts webinars for Today’s Dietitian and writes weekly for her blog: www.livingandeatingwell.com . When she isn’t busy sharing her food passion with others, she is playing at home with her three sons and husband. Shayna resides in Marietta, GA.

Shayna is, as you will hear, absolutely passionate about nutrition and cancer care. Her passion translates into recommendations that encourage a colorful outlook on food and lifestyle. We were so encouraged by our conversation – and even more excited about how powerful nutrition and food is in reducing our risk for cancer and can’t wait for you to listen to the show.

On the show, we do talk about a few things that can be confusing for consumers in general. I wanted to share some context for those issues and give you some resources to help you discern for yourself. The reality is that there are some unknowns and some nuanced issues in nutrition and even the experts don’t always agree. And…context is everything and our nutrition needs change based on what’s going on in our bodies at any specific time, so talk to your doctor and realize that this show is information and not meant to be medical advice. With that, here are a few issues that consistently bubble up and that did just that on this show: What about GMOs? The evidence doesn’t support the idea that GMO foods cause cancer. If you want to learn more about GMO and what we know today about cancer, check out this article from MD Anderson’s website. Should we eat soy? Soy is another food that has been surrounded by confusion. Fortunately, MD Anderson has also provided an excellent overview of what we know – and don’t know – about soy foods and cancer. Check it out here. Organic vs. conventional is a consistent discussion and there’s a lot to know in order to evaluate the issue. One thing we know is that organic foods aren’t more nutritious and can be a lot more expensive. The research supports that eating either conventionally grown or organic fruit and vegetable in abundance as a protective way of eating, so avoid produce because you can’t find or afford organic. You can be healthy even if you never eat organic foods. Shayna mentioned the “Dirty Dozen” by the EWG as one resource. I recommend the resources at safefruitsandveggies.com, which represent both organic and conventional growers and provides evidence-based information for consumers on how to choose safe (and healthy) produce. Finally, here’s a post from another friend and colleague of mine, who is an expert in cancer too, about turmeric and cancer. As always with nutrition and health, needs of the individual are nuanced, but we really want to help ensure that you can sort through to find the most evidence-based approaches for your health.

Listen to The Big C: Cancer and Diet here or subscribe via iTunes,StitcherGoogle Play, and more by searching for Southern Fried Girlfriends Podcast on your favorite podcast app. Swing on over to The Southern Fried Girlfriends Facebook page to chat about this topic, get some other resources, and stay connected.

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