Dietary Shifts and Human Health: Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in a Sustainable World

Abstract

Introduction

Increasing evidence suggests that optimal food choice is critical for sizable prevention of western diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. The Mediterranean diet is an important step in this direction. Moreover, substantially lower rates of Western disease, even compared to Mediterranean countries, have been observed among hunter–gatherers and other non-western populations (Lindeberg 2010). Observational studies and controlled trials support the notion that an evolutionary perspective is helpful when designing food models for optimal human health.

Discussion

However, sustainable health for the individual patient is not enough: environmental sustainability must also be considered. Are fish and fruit sustainable for everyone? Are starchy root vegetables a better option than cereal grains? Is locally produced meat an underestimated wholesome food? These and other questions need to be addressed in order to cut greenhouse gases and the consumption of (blue) water and nonrenewable energy.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to S. Lindeberg.

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Lindeberg, S. Dietary Shifts and Human Health: Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in a Sustainable World. J Gastrointest Canc 43, 8–12 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12029-011-9345-2

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Keywords

  • Evolution
  • Paleo diet
  • Non-western populations
  • Cancer
  • Atherosclerotic disease
  • Milk
  • Cereal grains
  • Starchy root vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Sustainability