SAMC dietician explains link between poor diet and cancer

Published: Mar. 5, 2018 at 7:44 AM CST
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“Our body is the only body we have and we need to take care of it,” said Smith, a registered dietician at SAMC.

Calorie intake ranges from person to person based on their needs, age and physical activity, but one need remains constant – nutrient rich foods.

“Many people will say ‘ooh I like fruit, but let’s see I haven’t had fruit in days’,” explained Smith.

And that’s the problem Marilu Smith says dieticians see too often. She says people need daily servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, without the preservatives. Also try to avoid processed junk foods that are high in fat, sodium and added sugar.

“Hot dogs bologna salami, your fried foods, candies, drinks,” mentioned Smith. “About 40% of our calories are coming from fat with the typical American diet and that’s way too much. That can lead to heart disease, being overweight and many types of cancers”

For those battling cancer the same rules apply.

“They need to have a healthy diet because that will strengthen their good cells and their healthy cells to rebuild and repair.”

Smith understands that those undergoing treatment may lack appetite since their taste buds have changed. For those patients she recommends supplements, or “meal replacements” to rebuild their body and keep their weight up.

“Boost and ensure and wide variety to get a lot of nutrition in a small volume,” explained Smith.

She also adds to drink 6 to 8 cups of water and eat foods high in fiber to eliminate the toxins in our body.

“So many people are drinking these high sugar drinks and never drinking water. Our body is 50% water and we need some good clean water,” said Smith. “We need at least 15 maybe even closer to 20 grams of fiber. We get this again from fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals.” She adds, “in our fast paced world we think ‘what can I get that’s fast easy and cheap.’ But hey, we are worth a little bit extra time and little bit extra effort to be healthy in the long term.”

Moderation and balances are key. Smith says pay attention to serving size and aim for colorful plate. The more color, the more variety and nutrients you are probably getting from your meal.