The reversible culprit behind 11 types of cancer

Here’s a bit of news that you’d think would be the top story on every major network and printed on the front page of every paper. A new analysis published in the British Medical Journal found “strong evidence” that obesity is associated with 11 different types of cancer.

But have you read this anywhere? Or seen it broadcast on TV? If you did, please let me know where so I can congratulate those journalists. But my guess is you didn’t. Because I live in the media capital of the world — New York — I didn’t hear a peep.

This is probably the most useful and important information Americans could hear. It’s something that directly affects their lives and their health. And it’s entirely within their control.

The problem goes beyond those 11 cancers, too. The study’s lead author thinks that there are likely associations between obesity and other cancers as well, but the evidence just wasn’t as strong.

Still, you’d think 11 would be enough for some governmental agency to get involved and ask for an investigation. All it took was the association between smoking and one type of cancer — lung cancer — to bring down the tobacco industry. Although, I guess our government (or lack thereof) is a little preoccupied at the moment.

Still, other research has reached similar conclusions to this study, and some have even gone further. This one concluded that excess body fat ups the chances of getting most digestive system cancers, in addition to endometrial cancer and postmenopausal breast cancer.

And just last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found associations between excess fat and other cancers, including liver, thyroid, and ovarian. The current study didn’t find enough evidence to support those associations. But the data is pretty clear.

Preventing excess adult weight gain can reduce the risk of cancer. Not to toot my own horn, but #sugarkills has never been more appropriate. And my new book, the A-list Diet, couldn’t be more timely. If you, like most Americans, are carrying around excess pounds, please do yourself a favor and read this book. (You can pre-order a copy by clicking here.) It will help you get to a healthy weight and avoid the many health concerns that extra fat causes.

This isn’t about vanity. If you want to lose weight so you look better in a swimsuit, fine. But that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about staying alive and living well for all your days on this earth.

So how do we get the word out? First of all, every doctor should be talking to every patient about diet — and especially sugar. Sugar should be treated just like smoking. Yet, many physicians have their own weight struggles. Maybe they don’t think sugar is an issue. But the frightening truth is that it will kill you even more insidiously than cigarettes.

These researchers rank excess body fat as potentially the second most significant modifiable cancer risk factor, after smoking. I would argue that it’s the other way around.

Even if your doctor isn’t talking to you about weight and how your diet (sugar, especially) affects it, let this study serve as a wake-up call. Don’t wait for your doctor to light a fire under you. Take your health into your own hands. Start out with this essential step: Say goodbye to sugar. That means all sugar-sweetened beverages, juices, pastries, etc, belong in the trash, not your belly. Next, get up and get moving. Find a type of exercise you love and do it consistently.

And finally, get your hands on the A-List Diet. It’ll give you tools tailored to your body type to help you get your weight under control — once and for all.