Low-Fat Diet Could Help Women Survive Breast Cancer

Niki Fears - Author

Aug. 23 2017, Updated 4:20 a.m. ET

A new study that was presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium shows that women who have a low fat diet may have a better shot at beating breast cancer and extending their lives than women on conventional American diets.

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The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study was conducted by researchers from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston and involved 2,437 women who had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and were pursuing conventional courses of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. Out of those women, 975 of them were switched to a low fat diet while the others were monitored as a control. Both groups were monitored over the long term to see if the change in diet had any change in mortality rate. The breast cancer patients in the low fat group, reduced the percentage of their calories that came from fat from an average of 29.6% to 23% with a goal of trying to reduce it even further.

What they found after six years was that the breast cancer patients on the low fat diet had a lower mortality rate of 6.6% as opposed to those in the control group who had a 7.3% rate of mortality. Researchers also found that as time went on, the gap between the two groups got even wider so that by 2013 the breast cancer patients who were on the low fat diet had a mortality rate of only 13.6% while the women in the control group saw a much higher rate of mortality at 17%.

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While many researchers do not think that these numbers are large enough to be impressed by, a very interesting thing happened when they compared only those women who had a specific type of breast cancer, the difference between the two groups sky rocketed dramatically. For example, when they looked at a particular kind of breast cancer that did not include the specific receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone, they found that the women on the low fat diet had a 58% lower mortality rate than those in it the control group and experts say that is a number just too large to ignore or simply dismiss as coincidence. Researchers also noted that nutritional and non-drug alternatives may be of even more importance for women who have the types of breast cancer that do not respond well to conventional drugs.

Of course, the benefits of a low fat diet is not limited to just breast cancer patients it is also a great choice for general health, weight loss, and in the reduction and prevention of heart disease. Additional it can be one step to a healthier diet which could help victims of breast cancer simply improve their over all health which of course gives the body a better chance to heal.

Keep in mind that you need some fat with a meal in order for fat soluble vitamins and nutrients, like Vitamins A, D, E, and K can be absorbed by your body. The key is to reduce or eliminate the unhealthy fats and replace them with healthy, omega 3 rich sources such as olive oil, avocados, salmon, and nuts and seeds like walnuts. Coconut oil is also another healthy source of fat. Fat sources that come from processed or fried foods and animals sources should be avoided for a healthier diet not just for women with breast cancer but for most people in general.

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