“A low-fat diet full of fruits and vegetables could reduce risk of breast cancer death,” the Mail Online reports.
This headline is based on a long-term follow-up of a US trial conducted in the 1990s, which included nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women.
The women were assigned to continue their usual diet or to follow a diet low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables for 8 years.
During the trial, 1,764 women developed breast cancer. The low-fat diet didn’t have a significant effect on the risk of breast cancer developing, but the researchers then followed the women who developed breast cancer for a further 10 years.
They found that the number of women who lived at least 10 years after receiving a diagnosis was better for women who’d followed the low-fat diet – 82%, compared with 78% on the usual diet.
Admittedly, this is only a small difference. But this well-conducted trial generally supports what’s already understood about breast cancer.
A diet high in saturated fat is already an established risk factor for breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer, as is being overweight or obese.
Fruit and vegetables may have influenced the results – though it could be that they’re just part of a healthy overall lifestyle.
This study adds to the overwhelming amount of evidence that a balanced diet and regular physical activity will reduce your risk of cancer, as well as many other long-term conditions.
Where does the study come from?
The study was conducted by researchers at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, and various other institutions in the US.
Funding was provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Institute for Cancer Research.