Can Weight Gain Cause Cancer? Can Weight Gain Cause Cancer?

By Dr. Mao, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D, Dipl. C.H., ABAAP

With all the excess indulgences of sweets, rich food, and alcohol during the holiday season, the average American gains about eight pounds between Thanksgiving and the new year. Most people know that obesity increases the risks of heart disease and diabetes but few associate weight gain with cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 684,000 cases of cancer that occur in the United States each year have an association with obesity. This statistic includes more than 210,000 men and 470,000 women. Breast cancer after menopause is the most common obesity-associated cancer among women. Colorectal cancer is the most common obesity-associated cancer among men.

Obesity, plus aging, is an even deadlier combination of risks for your health and longevity, as I wrote in my book, Live Long Live Strong: Integrative Approach to Cancer Care & Prevention. More than 90% of new obesity-related cancers occur in men and women 50 years old or older. We now know that carrying excess body fat plays a central role in many of the most common cancers. It is more apparent than ever that obesity's impact is felt before, during, and after cancer - it increases risk, makes treatment more complex, and shortens survival.

However, the holidays are a time of celebration with family and friends. I am certainly not one to discourage merry-making. With the following five tips, I share how you can enjoy the holiday festivities without damaging your health and longevity.

Eat Before Going to a Party

The urge of hunger is tough to resist. Hunger is a primal instinct that can override any rationality. Not long ago, humans killed one another to eat and feed their families. Combine that with stress-driven or hormonally-induced cravings; you would be wise to avoid getting between a woman and her chocolate bar before her period! Eating before going to a celebratory event can reduce biological hunger and help you better resist the urge to overeat, which inevitably always ends in post-event regrets.

Eat a Little of Everything

There is a part two to this advice - "but not too much of anything!" We get into trouble when we like something and risk overeating from it. From my many years of interviewing centenarians, the one common trait among long-living populations is that they all practiced some form of calorie restriction. This means they restrict the quantity of food they consume at any given time. Studies show that calorie restriction reduces the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and, you guessed it, cancer! So enjoy a little of your favorites, just not too much of them!

Use an External Lap Band

A surgical lap band is one of the several procedures used by bariatric physicians. Made of silicone and placed around your stomach, the band reduces your stomach capacity and slows the passage of food through your stomach. You can train yourself to eat less and spare yourself surgery and the cost by simply wearing a tight belt around your waist and keeping it tight during the party until the end. It's simple, effective, and saves money!

Try a Natural Appetite Regulator

Many patients have requested natural ways to curb their cravings and appetite. Many have benefited from herbs that signal the body's ghrelin and leptin, two hormones that increase and decrease appetite, respectively. African mango, Rhodiola, and pygeum are shown to increase energy and leptin to help you feel satiated while decreasing ghrelin to make you less hungry. Find these and other herbs in the formulation Energy Elixir.

Boost Your Healthy Metabolism

As individuals age, especially in midlife and beyond, hormonal changes cause the metabolism to slow; for others, it seems to arrive at a grinding halt. Try green tea, garcinia Cambogia, and L-Theanine to restore a healthy metabolism. The former two have been studied for their weight loss properties, while the latter, a calming amino acid, helps reduce stress and counterbalance the small amount of caffeine in green tea. These ingredients, as well as others, can be found in Metabo-Max.

Welcome your holiday season by expanding your heart without expanding your waistline and cancer risk. Spread the cheers by being grateful for your health and what you have while giving love and joy to all you meet!



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