The most important nutritional message to help prevent cancer is “eat the right amount of food to avoid weight gain”. Eating the right balance of foods can help to achieve this – eating plenty of plant foods that are rich in dietary fibre and avoiding foods that are energy-dense, i.e. foods with a lot of calories in a small portion, mostly foods with a lot of animal fat and sugary foods (so called “fast foods”, highly processed foods or many snack foods) and sugary drinks. There is increasing evidence that a higher intake of ω3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (high content in fatty fish) and the avoidance of sugary drinks in the diet may be beneficial in terms of cancer risk, although not yet enough on which to base a firm recommendation.

A high intake of plant foods (vegetables and fruits, pulses, and wholegrain cereals, which are rich in a variety of nutrients and dietary fibre) is recommended to make you less likely to develop cancers of the digestive system. A low intake of red meat and, in particular, processed meat and a low intake of salt, and of salty or salted foods, are recommended to prevent bowel and stomach cancers, respectively. Drinking alcohol is also a cause of several cancers.