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The Health Centre

Fat & Cancer...How Much is too Much?


The National Cancer Institute has long recommended that fat be limited to less than 30 percent of calories and that the fattiest meats be replaced by leaner meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. These recommendations, however, are much too weak to prevent cancer or to increase survival for those who have already been diagnosed with the disease.

A large study of American nurses showed that those who limited fat to 27 percent of their calories were not any better off against cancer than those consuming more fat. Some have interpreted this to mean that diet has nothing to do with breast cancer. A more reasonable conclusion is that the diets these women followed were still high-risk diets. After all, a diet including regular consumption of animal products and drawing nearly 30 percent of calories from fat is nothing like the traditional Asian diets associated with low cancer risk.

As important as it is to get the fat off your plate, that is only the beginning. Other parts of the diet play important roles in cancer prevention. Vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans provide fibre, which helps the body to rid itself of excess estrogen.

One way the body rids itself of sex hormones is through the digestive tract. The liver pulls sex hormones from the blood, chemically alters them, and sends them down the bile ducts into the intestinal tract. There, the fibre from grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans escorts them through the intestine and finally out the door as wastes. At least that is how the system is supposed to work. But chicken breasts, beef, eggs, cheese, and all other animal products contain no fibre at all. As these products have assumed larger and larger portions of the American plate, they have pushed off the grains, vegetables, beans, and fruits. Without adequate fibre to hold them in the digestive tract, sex hormones are reabsorbed back into the bloodstream where they once again become biologically active. The hormones your body was trying to rid are then recruited back into circulation. Building your diet from grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes assures plenty of fibre for the body's needs.

Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine





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