The breast cancer/dietary fat relationship, once a key point in getting American women to switch their eating habits, has now been seriously challenged.
A prominent Harvard study of nearly 90,000 American nurses, backed up by somewhat similar studies from other laboratories, has shown no relationship between the risk of breast cancer and the amount of fat we eat.
While it may be tempting for many women to ease off their diet regimes, the relationship between dietary fat and cancer should not be idly dismissed. The problem is that the Harvard study, although well executed, is very narrowly focused, leaving many women understandably confused. A clue to alleviating this confusion may be found when the Harvard data are compared with our findings from rural China. Contrary to Harvard’s conclusions, we found a significant association between dietary fat and breast cancer.
Harvard Study vs. China Project
The Harvard study compared nurses who ate “low-fat” [...]
(In response to a reader’s question concerning Dr. Mercola’s views on The China Study)
I’ve seen the views of Dr. Mercola several times, and this is my response:
For background, it should be noted that Dr. Mercola’s views, when he says that The China Study is “seriously flawed”, parallel very closely those of the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF), a Washington-based agricultural lobbying group, who asserts, among other claims, that high cholesterol diets are healthy even beneficial and who not surprisingly support the consumption of raw un-pasteurized, un-homogenized grass-fed beef and other animal-based food products.
They also, perhaps to be politically correct, recommend the consumption of fruits and vegetables but in a way that is virtually meaningless. They rely heavily on a personal survey that a dentist, Weston Price, did during the 1920s and 1930s when he visited a total of 14 indigenous peoples in various parts of the world to examine [...]
One out of two Americans gets heart disease and half of those die instantly from their first heart attack.
One out of three dies of cancer. One out of eight women gets breast cancer and one out of six men gets prostate cancer. Roughly one out of ten middle-aged Americans has diabetes, and among those over 60, this rate becomes one out of five people. In addition, another one in five Americans has so-called prediabetes.
Unfortunately, many people suffering from these diseases do not realize that their wrong dietary choices since childhood have caused these serious problems. Numerous scientific studies, including “The China Study,” show that there is a strong correlation between an animal-based diet and these ailments. They are very rare in countries where populations live on a plant-based diet. The majority of people in Western countries assume that these diseases are inevitable as they get older, but this [...]
Question: What is your response to: “A role for milk proteins and their peptides in cancer prevention”, by PW Parodi (Current Pharmaceutical Design 13: 813-828, 2007).
Answer: This paper is a classic illustration of scientific reductionism that creates more confusion than clarification. It starts by stating that the “most reliable approach to establish a causal relationship [between diet and disease] …is…a randomized control trial.” My view is exactly the opposite. A randomized control study design focuses on one factor, one outcome and generally one mechanism at a time. This is not nutrition; it is pharmacology (is this why it was published in a pharmaceutical journal?)
In the introduction to the paper, the author also trashes the correlations-based ecological study design, stating that “correlations tell nothing about [diet and cancer associations]“. It is true that nothing conclusive about causation can be established because of the way that these studies are done but [...]
Answer to a Reader’s Question:
Although there are many arguments favoring the nutritional imbalance explanation of cancer, one of the more striking for me was the experimental animal studies discussed in Chapter 3 in my book, The China Study. Namely, aflatoxin is a very potent carcinogen for the rat. However, after the Indian researchers showed that decreasing protein (casein) intake from the usual level of consumption of 20% to 5% completely prevented this very powerful carcinogen to cause cancer, we then began our work (references in our book). We explored that finding in great depth and eventually confirmed their initial observation. That is, simple adjustment of dietary protein (casein) within very normal ranges of protein intake controlled cancer growth and it worked not by one mechanism but by a large array of mechanisms. In other words, we proved this association beyond any doubt.
Further, over the years, this research required [...]