Living Well

The Link Between Diet, Obesity and Cancer

The Link Between Diet, Obesity and Cancer

A diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and good sources of protein are important for good health, but did you know that what you eat can also affect your risk for cancer?

female cancer patient drinking tea and sitting on coach

The good news is that diet and obesity are things that can be controlled through healthful choices and a greater understanding of how our bodies process certain foods.

The link between cancer and diet is the topic of the University Medical Center Cancer Center’s next Breast Health Lunch Lecture, presented by Adam Riker, MD., F.A.C.S. Dr. Riker is an LSU Health New Orleans surgical oncologist and Oncology Service Line Director at University Medical Center.

Link between Diet, Obesity and breast cancer lunch flyer

The free lecture takes place from 12 – 1 p.m. in the University Medical Center Conference Center, on the first floor of University Medical Center, 2000 Canal Street. Lunch will be provided, and a Q&A will follow.

During the lecture Dr. Riker will share a wealth of information, including the basics of cancer, how many people develop cancer, and most importantly, why people develop cancer.

Cancer cells

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, one of the biggest risk factors for cancer is being overweight or obese. Eating food that is high in fat or sugar can lead to weight gain, and there is strong evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 11 cancers.

Man getting measured around waist by physician

Dr. Riker’s lecture will explore why having too much sugar in our diets is not only dangerous, but potentially deadly, the effects of wheat, flour, gluten and process foods (most of which contain flour and wheat) on our overall health, the effects of dairy consumption and the most common pesticide/herbicide in the U.S. food chain and its impact on the vast majority of food consumed in the U.S.

Jar with sugar, locked with "no sugar" sign

In the second half of his lecture, Dr. Riker will drill down on how our body processes food, especially sugar and wheat. Sugar is linked to insulin resistance, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Gluten, a protein in wheat, has been linked to a number of ailments, including inflammation, intestinal disorders and autoimmune disorders.

Person turning down bread

He will discuss the dietary guidelines in the food pyramid and affect on childhood and adult obesity.

The Standard American Diet

1970: 2,077 calories

1990: 2,343 calories

2010: 2,590 calories

Additionally, “I’ll focus upon the striking increase in obesity and diabetes (and other health problems) as a result of the U.S diet and then discuss what we can do about it, in order to live a healthy, happy, fulfilled and cancer-free lifestyle,” Dr. Riker said.

Adults in a Cycle group exercise class

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