Diet and Cancer Prevention

Image source: American Institute for Cancer Research (2014)

Despite being in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, nutrition related chronic disease still remains a serious public health issue that warrants our attention. Reducing risk of cancer through diet, lifestyle and screening is just as important now as ever. The lockdown period has been a time for reflection and, for some people, an opportunity to consider healthier diet and lifestyle choices. There is strong evidence that several dietary factors play a role in increasing or decreasing risk for certain types of cancer. We want to discuss these factors and highlight how we as nutrition professionals can promote healthy eating and lifestyles for long term health and cancer prevention. 

We have a real treat in store for our final twitter chat this month before we take a break for summer! We are very excited to welcome not one but two expert guest moderators for our #NutrCancerPrev chat. We are delighted to have both Professor Annie Anderson from the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network and Isobel Bandurek from the World Cancer Research Fund International as guest moderators.

Professor Annie Anderson

Annie is a Professor of Public Health Nutrition and Co-director of the Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening at Ninewells Medical School, University of Dundee. She trained in nutrition and after two years clinical dietetic practice in Cambridge moved to an academic career. Following a PhD at the University of Aberdeen and research posts at the University of Glasgow and the MRC Medical Sociology Unit she was appointed to a Professorial post in the University of Dundee in 1996.

Annie’s research focusses on theory based, behaviourally focused, dietary and obesity (population and individual) interventions aimed at chronic disease risk reduction with a special interest in cancer prevention. She has undertaken a number of international and national roles including advisor to WHO International Agency for Research on the development of European Code Against Cancer, chair of the grant panel for The World Cancer Research Fund International and a member of UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). She co-directs the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network (@thescpn) – an advocacy group working for improved translation of evidence on cancer prevention into practice and policy on behalf of the Scottish Cancer Foundation.

Isobel Bandurek

Isobel is a UK-registered dietitian currently working at World Cancer Research Fund. There she works on the global evidence base for the role of nutrition and physical activity in cancer prevention and survivorship. This includes systematic reviews, working with panels of international experts, and the development of cancer prevention recommendations for individuals and policymakers.

Previously, Isobel worked with homeless young people in London with the charity Centrepoint. She delivered 1-to-1 and group interventions as well as health promotion activities. Her first roles as a dietitian were in the NHS, specialising in malnutrition.

Isobel also holds voluntary roles, including with the British Dietetic Association London Branch.

Isobel completed her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Oxford, and a Masters in nutrition and Postgraduate Diploma in dietetics at King’s College London.

Our chat schedule

We are doing things a little differently this month – we will be discussing three questions during the first 30 minutes and then opening the floor for a 30 minute live Q&A session with both Professor Anderson and Isobel Bandurek – so please take advantage of having your diet and cancer prevention questions answered by our guest experts! Please also feel free to provide answers during the live Q&A too. Tweet your questions and answers using #AskAfNutr

Join us on Tuesday 30th June, 8-9pm UK time to discuss the role of diet in cancer prevention. Our three questions are below. As always, when answering a particular question number your answer A1, A2 etc and use the hashtag #NutrCancerPrev in all tweets. For our live Q&A use the hashtag #AskAfNutr to direct your diet and cancer prevention questions to our expert guests. If time runs out, we will address any unanswered questions over the coming days.

Discuss chat questions below 8.00-8.30pm using #NutrCancerPrev

Live Q&A with our guest moderators 8.30-9.00pm using #AskAfNutr

Q1: What dietary factors are identified to be associated with increasing/decreasing cancer risk? Which of these have the strongest evidence for influencing cancer risk?

Q2: What role can nutritionists play in the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases? How can we ensure that this topic remains on everybody’s agenda?

Q3: With the media and internet full of cancer and diet scaremongering, it is important that fact is separated from fiction. What cancer myths have you come across? What is the evidence behind these headlines?

Lockdown Nutrition

Join us for our next chat on Tuesday 19th May (8-9pm UK time), where we will be considering how lockdown has affected the way we eat, cook and shop for food.

This month’s chat aims to discuss food and nutrition issues facing us in lockdown, both the positives and negatives. We will also consider food security at household and national level as well as sharing our personal experiences of nutrition during lockdown.

How can we, as nutrition professionals, support good nutrition through lockdown and beyond, as restrictions ease?

It is even more important, in the face of COVID-19, that Registered Nutritionists share evidence-based resources and information widely. Therefore, the launch of the Association for Nutrition’s Nutrition Resource Hub during lockdown is timely. This resource hub aims to share Registrants’ resources to provide a source of reliable information for the public and the media.

We have chosen six open questions to structure the discussion below. Remember to use #LockdownNutrition for all your answers and start them with A1, A2, A3 etc.

Q1. What’s the current evidence around nutrition and immunity? How can our diet support the immune system?

Q2. There has been a lot of talk about vitamin D recently. Why is this, is there any new research of interest and what is the current official advice on vitamin D?

Q3. How has lockdown impacted on people’s eating behaviours in terms of cooking, food shopping and household food waste?

Q4. How has lockdown affected people’s ability to access and buy food? Share any useful sources of information that shows how our food supply chain has responded.

Q5. Lots of seasonal veg is currently going to waste in the UK. Share your tips or resources for using veg for healthy meals and snacks during lockdown.

Q6. From a nutrition perspective, what positives are to be gained from lockdown?

Moving from ANutr to RNutr

Our April chat on Tue 21st between 8 and 9pm (UK time) will be focusing on transferring from ANutr to RNutr.  This AfNutr chat topic was one of our most popular chats last year, so we are excited to be hosting it again this month.  

Preparing your portfolio can feel really daunting and this chat will connect you with others in a similar situation. More importantly, we hope that we will have lots of RNutrs ready and waiting to give tips and advice.

It’s a great time for thinking about your portfolio and CPD as the AfN are starting a Weekly Zoom Clinic where Registrants can book in for one-to-one support relating to transfer portfolios. Details of how to book a dedicated time are provided in the latest Registrant’s Newsletter.  

We are extremely happy to have Dr Glenys Jones RNutr as a guest moderator for the evening. Glenys is the Deputy Chief Executive and Communications Manager for the Association for Nutrition. She brings her inside knowledge of the transfer process along with a huge amount of personal experience of nutrition and science.

We hope this chat will be of use and enjoyable to both ANutrs and RNutrs.  Remember to use the #RNutr2B for all your answers and start them with A1, A2, A3 etc. We have chosen six open questions to structure the discussion, here they are:

Q1: What are the main challenges for preparing and writing your portfolio to transfer from ANutr to RNutr?

Q2: How to get started. How do I organise evidence for my portfolio?

Q3: How do I structure my personal statement? RNutr’s please share any tips you have for personal statement writing.

Q4: Core Competency 5 (Professional Conduct section) is often difficult for ANutr’s to digest. From PC1 – PC13, which elements do you find most challenging?

Q5: It is important for ANutrs to be mentored. Share your mentoring experiences.

Q6: After you have gained RNutr status what happens next? What are the benefits/advantages of becoming a RNutr?

Child Nutrition

Image Source: Unsplash @halgatewood

Child nutrition has proven to be a popular requested chat topic with many of our @AfNutr followers.

Giving children regular meals, and a healthy, well-balanced diet helps their development, mental well-being and physical health. As well as growth and development, relationships with food are also established at a young age.

Child nutrition is a vast and diverse area. Food and eating can be great fun, however many parents or carers for children may feel overwhelmed with periods of fussy eating. Children’s tastes change. One day they’ll hate something, but a month later they may love it.

The next chat covers child nutrition from complementary feeding through to the challenges of teen eating.

Join us on 24th March 2020 from 8-9pm (UK time) for #NutrKids.

Chat questions are below. Remember to use the #NutrKids for all your answers and start them with A1, A2, A3 etc.

Q1: Parents can feel confused about when to introduce solid food, what’s the recommended advice? Share any tips or useful resources on complementary feeding.

Q2: The toddler years can see the emergence of fussy eating, why is this and what are the evidence-based strategies for coping with this phase?

Q3: What are the key areas of concern around children’s dietary patterns & how does this impact health?

Q4: How can we promote healthy eating amongst children and their families on an individual, community & population level?

Q5: How can we encourage children to develop a good relationship with food?

Q6: What are the issues that can affect food choice in teenagers and how can we support them to eat well?

Fibre February 2020

There is good, firm evidence that dietary fibre is protective against cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and helps maintain optimal gut health.

Food innovation techniques now renders a wealth of functional fibres to be incorporated into food products, such as cereals, baked goods and even yoghurts with added fibre now available to consumers. But what is the public’s perception and understanding of dietary fibre? Is the science being successfully translated into practice?

After our very popular #FibreFeb chat last year, we think it seems pertinent to revisit the topic of fibre a year on.

Please join us at 8-9 pm GMT, on Tuesday 18th February for an interesting fibre filled chat.

This month we are joined by the Flour Advisory Bureau (FAB flour) in recognition of their #fibrefebruary campaign to encourage people to eat more fibre. They will be joining us as guest moderators and sharing resources produced together with the British Nutrition Foundation.  

Our collaboration with FAB flour is based purely on the fact we both acknowledge and appreciate the fact that the majority of the UK population do not have fibre intakes which  meet the recommended intake levels and this topic warrants further discussion.

@AfNutr has not received any financial or other incentives by inviting FAB flour as a guest moderator and their participation is on a solely voluntary basis. 

The questions for this month’s chat are below. Please use #Fibre2020 and start your answers with A1, A2, A3 etc

Q1: We are still well below the daily recommendation of 30g fibre – how can we increase our daily fibre intake?

Q2: Fibre providing foods are often not top of the list of children’s preferences. How can we increase fibre content in children’s diets?

Q3: What potential impact could the popularity of low carb and gluten-free diets have on fibre intakes?

Q4: What are the common misconceptions about fibre? How do the public perceive fibre?

Q5: There has been a rise in using inulin as a functional ingredient in foods, what’s all the fuss about inulin?

Q6: Are there any negative affects of high fibre intakes?

Our collaboration with FAB flour is based purely on the fact that we both have an appreciation that fibre intakes remain low in the UK population and that topic warrants further discussion. @AfNutr has not received any financial or other incentives by inviting FAB flour as a guest moderator and their participation is done so on a solely voluntary basis. 

Getting a Job & Carving out a Career in Nutrition

Happy New Year, Happy New Decade! January is typically a time for change and forward planning. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the winner of our last poll to decide this month’s chat topic was career development and job searching. Thank you to all of you that took time to vote.

Join us 8-9pm (GMT) on Tuesday 21st January to discuss careers in nutrition, with particular focus on how to find a job and how to best carve out a career, whatever your field.

This chat is intended to be helpful for everyone across all stages of their nutrition career. Career development is an ongoing challenge and we can benefit from career advice and support along the way. Many of you will have valuable advice to share with others – we encourage RNutrs to share their experiences.

Something that is new for @AfNutr this month – we have three special guests to help us moderate:

Anna Wheeler and Dr Danielle McCarthy, founders of Nutrition Talent, will share their experience of managing a nutrition focused recruitment agency to the chat.

Zoe Griffiths has a passion for sharing job opportunities and supporting fellow nutritionists in their career.

The questions for this month’s chat are below. Remember to use #NutrJobs for all your answers and start your answers with A1, A2 etc.

Q1: What advice do you have for AfN Registrants either starting out or developing their career in nutrition?

Q2: Where are the key places to look for nutrition jobs, career advice and resources?

Q3: Volunteering, at any stage in your career, is an excellent way to gain experience and new skills. Share your examples of volunteering.

Q4: Transferable skills are essential for securing any job. What are the key transferable skills for nutritionists and how do you reflect on these in your CPD?

Q5: Over to you…What questions would you like to ask in relation to nutrition careers or gaps in CVs?

Q6: Share your advice in applying for nutrition jobs and preparing for interviews.

AfNutr’s Alternative Advent

As an alternative to a chocolate advent calendar and our December chat, we have created a Twitter Christmas countdown.

Each day there will be a tip or nugget of information for AfN registrants – all of which are intended to be conversation starters!

Be part of our Alternative Advent by replying to our posts in a thread-like fashion. Don’t forget the hashtag #AfNutrAdvent.

We look forward to reading your tweets (whilst eating a mince pie, or two!) 🎅🏻

Red and Processed Meat

Image Source @AfNutr

Thank you to all those who voted in our Twitter poll to help us decide on this month’s twitter chat topic. The topic of November’s @AfNutr chat is Red and Processed Meat #RedMeatChat

A recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine questioned the strength of evidence behind public advice to eat less red and processed meat for reducing cancer risk. As a result, there was a flurry of media coverage and headlines that called into question the advice given on meat consumption based on the findings of this one study.

Join us 8-9pm (BST) on Wednesday 13th November (note – that our chat this month is on a Wednesday instead of our normal Tuesday slot) to discuss all things red and processed meat.

So, what’s the beef with red and processed meat? Twitter chat questions are below.

Remember to use #RedMeatChat for all your answers and start your answers with A1, A2 etc.

Q1: What roles do red and/or processed meat play in the diet?

Q2: What are the dietary recommendations for red and processed meat, and how do they compare to current intakes?

Q3: What does evidence say about red and processed meat consumption and their impact on health?

Q4: Is eating red meat environmentally sustainable?

Q5: There is a growing market for red meat alternatives, what type of products are available and how do they compare nutritionally to meat products?

Q6: Share any interesting research or facts on red and/or processed meat.

Nutritionist’s Role In Policy

Our next chat, Tuesday 15th October, 8-9pm GMT, is focusing on nutrition policy. We will focus on how evidence based policy can have positive outcomes for public health and how we, as nutritionists, can get involved in the policy process.

Evidence based nutrition policy, whether at a national, international, industry level or within a business, school, non-governmental organisation or charity can have powerful and very positive benefits on the lives of the people that policy targets.

Below are the questions for our next chat. Remember to use #NutrPolicy for all your answers and to label your answers A1/A2 etc.

Q1: Evidence and expert opinion is used to inform government advice and policy on nutrition, how can nutritionists contribute to this process?

Q2: What UK government or international guidelines/publications do you use to inform your work?

Q3: With the UK’s exit from the EU looming, what opportunities and considerations does this present in terms of diet and nutrition?

Q4: What current or upcoming consultations could Nutritionists get involved in?

Q5: What impact does policy have? Share examples of the benefits to the population.

Q6: Share your experiences of working within nutrition policy. Do you have any questions related to policy that haven’t been covered?

Let’s talk weight!

Source: World Obesity Federation image bank

We can’t wait to get started after our Summer break – we are refreshed and ready to go! Our next Twitter chat will be held on Tuesday 17th September, 8 – 9pm (GMT). We hope you are looking forward to chatting with us again!

If you have had a break from Twitter over the Summer, you can check out our top tips for tweeting here to help you get back in the swing.

Over the Summer, we have been very aware of the controversy surrounding the Cancer Research UK obesity campaign and the recent WW (formerly Weight Watchers) weight management app for children and teenagers. We felt it timely to discuss how we, as nutritionists, talk about weight, use terms like ‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’ and consider the effect of weight stigma and weight bias on people’s mental and physical well-being.

This is a sensitive area for so many reasons so please take a moment to look at our recently launched guidance on maintaining professionalism on social media. It seems a good time to highlight some of the messages here to help us navigate this chat in a professional and sensitive manner.

Use #talkweight for all tweets and remember to number your start with A1 or A2 etc.

Q1: What does the evidence show us about the impact of weight stigma on people’s mental and physical health?

Q2: How do we raise the topic of overweight and obesity appropriately with individuals? How we do discuss this topic with groups that we work with?

Q3: What are non-diet approaches and what role can they play in healthy weight management?

Q4: As Nutritionists, what can we do to support people leading healthier lives?

Q5: How can we ensure the language we use has a positive impact on the culture around weight?

Q6: Share any good tips, resources or positive experiences you’ve had working in this field.