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” diets with nurses who consumed higher fat diets. Total fat intake ranged from a modest level of 25% to as much as 45% of calories. According to evidence available in other reports, however, the women who consumed the lower amounts of fat, ate so-called “low-fat” foods such as leaner meats, low-fat milk, and low-fat dressings and spreads. Needless to say, they still indulged in eating large amounts of animal-based foods, rather than adding more fruits and vegetables to their diets.
Considerable evidence indicates this may be a formula for failure. The data from rural China, for example, depart from the Harvard data in several important ways. First, we compared people who ate diets containing 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 and photograph their dental health (dental caries and dental arch formation). However, by principally relying on Price’s findings, WAPF goes far beyond what Price actually did. They would have us believe that he published extensive data to support the health value of cow’s milk and high cholesterol animal based foods and, further, that he ‘discovered’ a fat soluble factor in milk that is likely responsible for these healthy effects of cow’s milk. I read his book and there are no data that Price accumulated, tabulated and interpreted to support that view. Indeed, the so-called fat soluble factor was noted at a time during the early days of vitamin discoveries when little was known about their metabolism and biochemically functional [...]
How often these days do you read that genes cause cancer?
Probably nothing in biomedical science deserves more attention. In my view, it even needs attention in nutrition newsletters. Why? Because there’s a peculiar line of reasoning going around that goes something like this: If genes are primarily responsible for determining when and what kinds of cancer we get, then what difference does it make what we eat?
Essentially, this is a very fatalistic view. Further, if this notion about genes is accepted as being valid, then many may be tempted to simply trade in “bad” genes for “good” genes. Regrettably, this is an idea that is very much alive in science and kicking up considerable funding support. Rather than succumbing fatalistically to gene research reports or trading our genes haphazardly, let’s start to think more seriously about preventing cancer, quite literally, by getting at its “root.”
Where is the Money Going?
I’ve previously commented in this newsletter on some of my concerns about this overemphasis on gene research (see August 1995 issue). While some of the new gene discoveries may provide hopeful opportunities, many are clearly harmfulespecially when people are not properly informed. Tragically, some people have become so distraught after finding out that they or their loved ones have a particular bad gene, that they then take unconscionable actionI’ve been called twice by mothers seeking advice on possible mastectomies for their daughters.
Why do NIH and similar funding agencies provide far more research funding for investigations on the genetic control of disease rather than for the nutritional control of disease? Whose purpose is [...]
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 is not true!
People need to learn that their health is in their own hands. The fact is, they can be free of illness and brilliantly healthy if they choose a wholesome diet and lifestyle. On the other hand, an incorrect diet and poor lifestyle choices make people sick.
You can choose superior health, once you know how. The solution is very simple. All you have to do is focus on a whole-food, plant-based diet. If you aren’t convinced, you should see how the “SAD” (Standard American Diet) choice consisting of a high-fat, high-protein, high-cholesterol animal-based diet has caused levels of diseases that are common in America to rise drastically among the Japanese people ever since they [...]