A New Study Links Meat And Dairy With 12% Increased Breast Cancer Risk


A recent study made with over 300,000 female participants discovered that diets high in meat, dairy, and processed sugar increase the risk of breast cancer in women by as much as 12 percent. The research was conducted by the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the WHO the World Health Organization, and the Imperial College in London. They concluded that the inflammatory properties of these foods caused an increase in cancer risk. 

Chronic inflammation precedes many serious diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Certain foods like meat, dairy, and processed sugars are known for increasing inflammation in the body. When certain types of foods are eaten regularly, the temporary (acute) inflammation induced by these foods becomes chronic, and they create an ideal environment for the development of cancer. 

Researchers surveyed the food habits of 318,686 women participants for a year. The inflammatory nature of each diet was determined by the frequency of certain foods eaten. Diets high in meat, butter, margarine, frying oils, and processed sugar were marked as inflammatory. Researchers found that those women who consumed the most inflammatory foods increased their relative risk of breast cancer by upwards of 12 percent. 

Instead of concentrating on a specific nutrient—such as saturated fat—as previous research did in the past, this study looked at dietary patterns. The goal was not to create fear around specific nutrients but to guide the conversation toward a habit change. 

“People consume food not nutrients, thus examining overall dietary patterns—rather than single components of diets—can lead to more accurate conclusions when analyzing associations with a health outcome such as breast cancer,”

Carlotta Castro-Espin of the Catalan Institute of Oncology

Plant-based diets have been linked to the reduction of cancer risk as well as decreasing the levels of inflammation. Researchers point to the high antioxidant content of fruits and vegetables to explain the anti-inflammatory properties of the whole, plant-based foods. 

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