These recommendations can lower your risk of developing cancer.

Key Takeaways

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) has new diet and exercise guidelines for cancer prevention.

  • The ACS recommends trying to get 300 minutes or more of activity a week.

  • Red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined grains should be avoided.

  • The ACS recommends avoiding alcohol entirely.

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) updates its guidelines on diet and physical activity for cancer prevention every few years. The last update was in 2012 and now, there are new guidelines out for 2020.

The guidelines were published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and clearly spell out diet and lifestyle changes people can make to lower their risk of developing cancer.2 Here are the new recommendations:

  • Try to do more physical activity. The new guidelines recommend aiming to do between 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. The ACS says getting 300 minutes of activity or more is ideal. The ACS previously recommended at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.

  • Strive to avoid certain foods entirely. The ACS specifically recommends avoiding red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, highly processed foods, and refined grains. In the past, the ACS recommended limiting those foods.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The ACS says dark green, red, and orange vegetables, fiber-rich legumes, whole fruits with a variety of colors, and whole grains are beneficial. Previously, the organization recommended eating at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.

  • Avoid alcohol. The ACS says that it is best to completely avoid all alcohol. However, if you choose to drink, the organization says it’s better to have no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. In the past, the ACS recommended having no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.


Article submitted by Pat France, MSRN Member