RESEARCH conducted on 3,500 showed that women who indulge in eating more of western-styled diets like ice cream, bread, rice, chips and others are more prone to have breast cancer. According to Spanish researchers, a study on
overweight and obese women who eat Western-style diet shows they may develop dense breast tissue, possibly increasing their risk for breast cancer. The research showed that were about 41 percent of women who eat western foods were more likely to have denser breast tissue, that is breast cancer, than women who ate a Mediterranean-type diet. The report was published August 8 in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the National Center of Epidemiology in Madrid, Spain and co-author of the study Dr. Marina Pollan, an Epidemiologist said: “Generally, it is important to maintain an adequate weight through life by controlling caloric intake, reducing consumption of energy- dense foods.” Dr. Pollan said that foods found in a Western-style diet, especially of high-fat dairy products are whole milk, high-fat cheeses and ice cream, processed
meats such as bacon, ham and salami and refined grains like white bread, pasta and white rice. Other examples are sweets and sweetened drinks, convenience foods like pizza, French fries and chips) and sauces (mayonnaise and ketchup), she said. Pollan said that women who ate such a diet had a 46 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer although these study findings do not prove that diet causes breast tissue to become denser. A Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of fish, vegetables, legumes, boiled potatoes, fruits, olives and vegetable oil and a low intake of
juices. “Women in the highest category of adherence to this pattern had a 44 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women in the lowest category of adherence,” Pollan said. Pollan and her colleagues for the study collected data on more than 3,500 women who were part of a breast cancer screening program between October 2007 and July 2008. The researchers collected medical information, family and personal health history and self- reported data about diet. They also rated the density of the women’s breast tissue as seen on a mammogram.
The findings were adjusted for age, weight, menopause, smoking, family history, hormone treatment and calorie and alcohol intake, the researchers said. Dr. Stephanie Bernik is chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, United States said, “Mammographic density has been determined to be an increased risk factor for breast cancer.” This study suggests that a Western diet increases breast density. “This very well may be true, but more studies need to be carried out to ensure that there is not a different underlying cause that might be common amongst women with a diet high in fat and processed foods,” Bernik said. Perhaps these women are less likely to exercise, and this might be the true reason for the increased density, Bernik suggested, adding that “Finding the root cause to the mammographic indicator of increased risk for breast cancer is very important. A study needs to be designed to specifically look at diet and the effect on mammographic density, and not a study that makes observational conclusions based on a patient’s memory,” she said.