comscore Control your weight to fend off disease | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Control your weight to fend off disease


In January 2019, after a decade of debate, researchers determined that they’d found the missing link between “Lucy,” the 3-million-year-old skeleton discovered in 1974 by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and “handy man” Homo habilis, the 1.5- to 2.1-million-year-old tool user discovered between 1962-1964. The link, Australopithecus sediba, “spent significant time climbing in trees, perhaps for foraging and protection from predators,” according to the study in the journal Paleoanthropology.

Unfortunately, for half of you, no amount of evidence has convinced you that there’s a connection between excess weight and cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. You’re missing the link!

Excess weight is definitely linked to cancers of the colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, ovary, endometrium, breast and thyroid, as well as meningioma and multiple myeloma. There’s also evidence that prostate cancer, breast cancer in men, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma are associated with excess body fat.

Plus, if you’ve had cancer, excess weight increases the risk of recurrence and of associated death.

So dig deep (like those paleontologists) and make sure you’re linked up to smart, obesity- and cancer-fighting choices.

>> Cut out processed and red meats, along with added sugars and syrups and processed grains. Eat seven to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily.

>> Go for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week and two 20-30 minute strength-training sessions weekly.

>> Control your stress response with daily meditation and enough sleep (seven to eight hours nightly).


On “The Sopranos,” Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) got his nickname after he hijacked a truck he thought was filled with TV sets, but was filled with, you guessed it, walnuts. The guys never did figure out the enormous value of those tasty morsels!

We’ve been advocating eating 14 walnut halves a day because they offer the good-for-you lipid omega-3 ALA, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, vitamin B-6 and iron. These help increase brain function, control diabetes and reduce heart woes such as high blood pressure and lousy cholesterol. One study that looked at 26 previous studies found that walnut eaters had lower LDL cholesterol than non-walnut eaters by about 5.5 mg/dL.

Now it turns out that in women with breast cancer, eating 2 ounces of walnuts a day for about 14 days actually makes beneficial changes in the expression of 456 genes that inhibit cell proliferation and migration. (Stifle those cancer cells, you nut, you!)

In a study published in Nutrition Research, researchers from Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine wanted to see if “walnut consumption would alter gene expression in pathologically confirmed breast cancers of women in a direction that would decrease breast cancer growth.” Their results indicate that, yes, walnut consumption may do just that.

So, enjoy walnuts as a snack (not too many; they are calorie-dense), in salads, blended with olive oil and basil for a pesto, as walnut oil on salads and in stir-fries (good for cooking temperatures up to 400 F).

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email questions to

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