Eating a plant-based diet and limiting alcohol intake may help lower the risk for obesity-related cancers, according to research published online in Cancer Causes & Control.

Investigators examined whether healthy habits included in cancer prevention guidelines from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research might reduce the risk for certain cancers.

The study involved analysis of long-term medical and dietary data from 2,983 American men and women. Between 1991 and 2008, 480 obesity-related cancers were diagnosed among the participants.

Continue Reading

After accounting for age, smoking, and other factors that might contribute to cancer risk, overall adherence to the guidelines was not tied with a lower risk of obesity-related cancers, the researchers found.

However, one of the guidelines — to limit alcoholic drinks to two per day for men and one per day for women — did protect against obesity-related cancers overall, and against breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers specifically. 

RELATED: Inconsistent Association Between Renal Cell Carcinoma Risk, Alcohol Intake

The researchers also found that eating more fruits, vegetables, and legumes was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

“Based on the study’s results, dietary advice on preventing cancer should emphasize the importance of eating a plant-based diet and restricting alcohol consumption,” study senior author Niyati Parekh, Ph.D., R.D., associate professor of nutrition and public health at New York University in New York City, said in a university news release.


  1. Makarem, Nour, et al. “Concordance with World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) guidelines for cancer prevention and obesity-related cancer risk in the Framingham Offspring cohort (1991–2008).” Cancer Causes & Control. DOI: 10.1007/s10552-014-0509-9. January 6, 2015.