Which would you rather have . . . filet mignon and broccoli or prostate cancer?
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 120,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. And 32,000 will die from it.
Several studies indicate that high-fat diets might be associated with an increased death rate of men with prostate cancer, according to AICR's latest brochure, "Diet, Nutrition, and Prostate Cancer."
So, for some men, the deciding factor in development of prostate cancer may be as simple as choosing smaller portions of meat (3 ounces per meal) and switching to leaner cuts, like beef fillet (8 grams fat) instead of hamburger (23 grams fat) or pork tenderloin (4 grams fat) instead of barbecued spareribs (13 grams fat).
Changing the snacks you eat when having a drink can help, too.
All the major health organizations recommend alcohol only in moderation, if at all. But what do you eat with that occasional beer or two? How about three jumbo steamed crabs (6 grams fat) instead of two slices of double-cheese pepperoni pizza (25 grams fat)? Why not munch on three large hard pretzels (no fat) instead of 10 measly potato chips (8 grams fat).
A few good men are beginning to catch on to the idea that a low-fat lifestyle may add to their lifetime. In fact, a recent survey by the American Dietetic Association showed that, among men who have made dietary changes for health reasons, the largest group (30 percent) said they have reduced their intake of fat or cholesterol.
Most, however, have not taken the positive approach of increasing foods that are healthful.
AICR points to evidence from both human and animal studies that fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products provide dietary fiber as well as vitamins and minerals that may help protect against cancer.
Yet, ADA's survey showed, of men who changed their diets for health reasons, only 8 percent are eating more vegetables, and only 4 percent are eating more fruit.
To increase cancer-fighting nutrients, AICR recommends eating more of the following foods:
*Dark green and deep yellow vegetables and fruit, including leafy greens, spinach, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, winter squash, apricots, peaches and cantaloupe.
*Citrus fruits, berries, melons, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower.
*Whole grain cereals, wheat germ, seafood, lean meats, grain products and dried beans and peas.
Eating beef tenderloin and broccoli seems a small sacrifice to make to decrease your risk of prostate cancer.
AICR offers additional information on diet and cancer. Write to: Information Coordinator, Publications Department, AICR, Washington. D.C. 20069.
ADA offers a free pamphlet, "Food Strategies for Men." Send a stamped, self-addressed, business-sized envelope to the American Dietetic Association, c/o Lee Enterprises, P.O. Box 1068, Dept. LM20, South Holland, Ill. 60473.
Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore and national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.