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Junk Food Linked To Increased Cancer Risk Among Normal-Weight Women

19 August 2017, 10:49 pm EDT By Athena Chan Tech Times
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Researchers have found that normal weight women with high energy density diets have 10 percent higher cancer risks. Results show that having a normal weight does not immediately translate to reduced cancer risks.  ( Pixabay )

New research shows a link between obesity-associated cancers and postmenopausal women of normal weight who eat junk food. Food content and not just weight-management was seen as an important means of protection against such cancers.

Dietary Energy Density

It's no secret that eating too much junk food isn't good for the body, but people sometimes think that it's alright as long as they don't gain weight. However, a new study found that even women of supposed normal weight who consume food items considered as junk food can also up their risk of obesity-associated cancers by up to 10 percent.

In the study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers investigated the relationship between dietary energy density (DED) baseline and obesity-associated cancers. By the researchers' definition, DED is the ratio of kilocalorie intake to body weight, indicating the quality of an individual's diet.

Food items called junk foods are defined as such because of their high-calorie content and low nutritional value. It is food items such as these that contribute to individuals' having higher energy dense diets. Although they are able to control their weight, the content of the food they consume does not protect them from the cancer risks.

Increased Risk Of Obesity-Associated Cancers

Researchers used data from 92,295 postmenopausal women enrolled in therapy trials of the Women's Health Initiative. The participants were between the ages of 50 and 79 were recruited between 1995 and 1998.

Data of women with cancer histories, as well as those who consumed either less than 600 calories or over 5,000 calories a day were excluded from the study.

What researchers found was that among the participants, those with higher DEDs were 10 percent more at risk of obesity-associated cancers than those with lower DEDs. Further, while higher energy density diets were associated with higher BMIs, the increased risk of obesity-associated cancers was found to be higher in women considered to be of normal weight compared to those who were overweight or obese.

Weight Management And Energy Dense Diets

With regards to the results of the study, researchers conclude that their findings show how weight management may not be enough to reduce the risks of obesity-associated cancers especially if the individual has a high energy dense diet.

The result of this study is reminiscent of the recent 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. Presenters at the seminar discussed the issue of fat-shaming in the doctor's office where overweight or obese patients' health issues are immediately assumed as a result of weight problems.

As such, they stressed that a weight-centric model of health isn't an effective means of determining a patient's health. Just like the results of the current study, the presenters at the seminar discussed how having a normal weight does not immediately translate to good health.

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