Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among U.S. women, with nearly 245,000 new cases diagnosed and 40,000 resultant deaths occurring every year.
Although the causes of breast cancer are inarguably complex, eating a diet naturally high in fiber and water- including a variety of fruits and vegetables-may influence a woman’s chances of being diagnosed during her lifetime.
In addition, obese women are much more likely than healthy-weight women to develop the disease.
However, it is difficult to separate the independent effect of diet from that of obesity because the two are so inextricably linked.
In other words, obese women tend to follow dietary patterns that are predictably different from those eaten by leaner women.
In a recent study, researchers separated out independent contributions of diet and obesity on breast cancer risk.
Their findings suggest that women who eat diets with the highest calories may be more likely than those who eat diets with low calories to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
The team analyzed data from the Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-II, a prospective cohort study initiated and maintained at the American Cancer Society.
In 1999, approximately 57,000 postmenopausal women without breast cancer completed a detailed survey about their diet and lifestyles. From these surveys, the researchers estimated the calories in each woman’s diet.
The breast cancer diagnosis was then assessed in each participant until 2011, and the probability of diagnosis during the study was related back to the calories of each woman’s diet.
The researchers found that, compared to those eating low-calorie diets, women eating diets with high calories were 20% more likely to have breast cancer during the study.
This link did not seem to be modified by body mass index (BMI, an indicator of obesity), age, or physical activity level.
The scientists posit that their findings support that fruits, vegetables, and other low-calorie foods are important to healthy body weight and a low risk of breast cancer.
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The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition and conducted by Hartman TJ et al.
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