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Dietary Fat And Breast Cancer - A Surprising Conclusion

April 27, 1999
I?ve crusaded on a lot of issues and most of the time I?ve been proven right as scientific evidence emerged.

Even when I?ve been shown wrong on a subject, I?ve never wavered in the belief that my job is to make people think about medical subjects and be open-minded. I?m trying to lead you in the directions I believe are right and beneficial when it comes to your health.

This brings me to an important study that just came out in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that deflates one of my beliefs about fat intake and breast cancer. In the past, I?ve generally believed that avoiding fats would lower the risk of getting breast cancer, as shown by some animal studies.

However, the major study just published in JAMA says there?s no evidence that a lower fat diet decreases a woman?s risk of breast cancer. This comes from data on 88,795 women analyzed by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women?s Hospital, Boston.

The researchers also found no evidence that avoiding specific kinds of fat decreased the risk of breast cancer in women who took part in the Nurses? Health Study in 1980 and in follow-up food frequency questionaires in 1984, 1986 and 1990.

"We found no evidence that lower intake of total fat or specific major types of fat was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer," the research study concludes.

This is a significant and complicated study which still leaves many questions unanswered. For example, it doesn?t show whether a low-fat diet at a younger age would decrease breast cancer cases later in life.

Of course, we know there are numerous benefits to low-fat diets. For one thing, avoiding certain types of fats is known to significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks in men and women.

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, March 10, 1999.


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