A 2014 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute highlighted the importance of eating a healthy diet when it discovered an unnerving effect of certain unhealthy foods. The report is a reanalysis of a previous study and suggests that a link exists between a diet rich in fat, particularly saturated fat, and an increased risk of breast cancer.
However, researchers note that the correlation may only be found in certain types of breast cancer. Additionally, the study could not indisputably prove that a fatty diet caused breast cancer, only that the two coexisted together.
However, there may be some danger lying in the fact that many foods that contain saturated fat are considered healthy. Avocados, for instance, contain more than three grams of saturated fat per cup, but they’re labeled a “superfood” in modern society. We can’t say for certain that avocados will increase your risk of breast cancer, but perhaps you should think twice about eating them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The study used data of approximately 337,000 women from 10 European countries that was collected from lifestyle surveys. The women were also studied for 11 to 12 years. In that time, about 10,000 were diagnosed with breast cancer.
“In our study, we confirm that saturated fat intake was positively associated with breast cancer risk,” Sabina Sieri, head researcher for the Fondazione IRCCS National Cancer Institute in Milan and lead author of the study, told Reuters Health. “Saturated fatty acids intake should be as low as possible within the context of a nutritionally adequate diet.”
Researchers noted that the link may occur because saturated fat increases the amount of the body’s sex hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are related to hormone receptor-positive cancers, which make up a majority of breast cancer diagnoses. While researchers still debate the findings, all agree that eating a diet low in saturated fat is good for health.
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