This Diet Not Only May Help to Maintain Good Weight, But Also Protect Against Breast Cancer


2016-04-19 12:36

Improving your diet now is very important for preventing a deadly form of breast cancer, a new study has shown.

We all know that eating better and exercising is important, but too many people wait until they receive a recommendation from a healthcare professional to start healthier habits – such as after being diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure. However, it is very important to start eating well now – what you do today may affect your risk for breast cancer later in life.

A new study from researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute have found that women who follow a low fat diet for at least eight years following menopause have an improved survival rate from invasive breast cancers.

Rowan Chlebowski MD PhD and colleagues studied data from more than 48,000 women, aged 50-79, who had no prior history of breast cancer. Almost 20,000 of the women were placed on a low fat diet, consisting of no more than 20% of total calories, which included plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The remaining women followed their usual diet, which in general was considered “normal” fat intake.

8 Years of Low Fat Diet and Improved Breast Cancer Survival

After eight years of following the diet, overall breast cancer survival was improved in the women with low fat diets. In addition, researchers noted lower cardiovascular disease mortality in the dietary group.

"We found that a sustained low fat diet increased the survival rates among postmenopausal women after a breast cancer diagnosis," said Dr. Chlebowski, who presented the findings at a conference. "The study also suggests that women would need to remain on the low fat diets to maintain the benefits of the dietary intervention."

Breast Cancer and Obesity
Being overweight or obese after menopause increases breast cancer risk per the American Cancer Society. Having more fat tissue after menopause can increase your chance of getting breast cancer because of increased estrogen levels in the body. Also, women who are overweight tend to have higher blood insulin levels, which has been linked to breast cancer.

How Much Fat Should I Eat?
Experts recommend that most adults get 20%-35% of their daily calories from fat – or about 45 to 75 grams if you eat 2,000 calories per day. (*Remember that if your calorie needs are less, your fat gram intake should also be less.) Keep track of your fat intake by reading nutrition labels on food packages.

When choosing foods, try to eat more whole foods in their natural state, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats and dairy. Try to avoid packaged/convenience foods. Cook more often at home as it is difficult to tell just how many calories and fat you are eating if you eat out often at restaurants.

References:
"Transformative Clinical Trials in Breast Cancer," at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting.

Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed). "Low fat diet helps postmenopausal women avoid deadly breast cancers: New data from women's health initiative dietary modification trial finds long-term dietary changes improves breast cancer survival rates." ScienceDaily, 16 April 2016. .

American Cancer Society

Photo Credit:
Wikimedia Commons - Image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Share this content.