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High dietary fat may increase risk of breast cancer.

High Dietary Fat May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

Consumption of saturated fats and animal proteins appears to be the highest risk factor for breast cancer, according to a study of Italian women in the province of Vercelli.

Using questionnaires as to food types and portions eaten, New York University Medical Center epidemiologist Paolo Toniolo, with researchers from a Turin hospital and from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, compared the diets of 250 breast-cancer patients with those of 499 healthy women of about the same age. Said epidemiologist Toniolo: "We studied Italian women because this population [is homogeneous] and has a much larger variation in dietary habits" than other groups studied. While the diets of healthy women did not differ significantly in consumption of carbohydrates and vegetable fats, women with breast cancer consumed more fat and protein -- mainly by eating greater amounts of meat and dairy products, especially milk, high-fat cheese, and butter.

The highest breast-cancer risk -- three times higher than normal -- was found among women who consumed half their calories as fat, 13% to 23% of their calories as saturated fat, and 8% to 20% of their calories as animal protein. By contrast, Vercelli women with a diet in which fat intake was less than 30% of total calories, saturated fat intake was less than 10% of calories, or animal protein was less than 6% of calories had half the normal breast-cancer risk for women from this region. The study was reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2-18-89.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Mar 22, 1989
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