Thursday, July 26, 2007

Western Diet Linked to Breast Cancer in Asian Women

Food for thought:

Newswise — Postmenopausal Asian women who eat a “meat-sweet” or Western diet are at greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who eat a “vegetable-soy” diet, according to a new study. The findings mark the first time an association between a Western diet and breast cancer has been identified in Asian women

The study, published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, involved women in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study. Eligible cases included all women 25 to 64 years of age who with a new diagnosis of breast cancer from August 1996 to March 1998. Controls were selected from the Shanghai Resident Registry of permanent residents in urban Shanghai. “The issue [of diet] is of particular relevance to women in Asia, for whom breast cancer rates are traditionally low but increasing steadily in recent years,” explained Marilyn Tseng, Ph.D., an associate member in the population science division at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

The transition in breast cancer risk has been attributed to environmental factors, possibly the incorporation of Western dietary pattern foods into traditional dietary habits as a part of broader, societal socioeconomic changes. However, the association of dietary patterns with breast cancer risk has not been studied previously in Asian women.

Through in-person interviews with the Shanghai study participants and residents of Shanghai, researchers established the existence of two primary dietary patterns—the “meat-sweet” diet and a “vegetable-soy” diet. The “meat-sweet” diet includes various meats—primarily pork but also poultry, organ meats, beef and lamb and with saltwater fish, shrimp and other shellfish as well as candy, dessert, bread and milk. The “vegetable-soy” pattern is associated with different vegetables, soy-based products, and freshwater fish.

Of 1,602 eligible breast cancer cases identified during the study period, in-person interviews were completed for 1,459 (91.1%). In-person interviews were completed for 1,556 (90.3%) of the 1,724 eligible controls.

The “meat-sweet” pattern was significantly associated with increased risk of breast cancer among overweight postmenopausal women. Specifically, high intake of the “meat-sweet” pattern was associated with a greater than twofold increased risk of estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer among these women. The results showed no overall association of breast cancer risk with the “vegetable-soy” pattern.

“Our study suggests the possibility that the “meat-sweet” pattern increased breast cancer risk by increasing obesity, Tseng said. “Low consumption of a Western dietary pattern plus successful weight control may protect against breast cancer in a traditionally low-risk Asian population that is poised to more broadly adopt foods characteristic of Western societies.”

Also interesting is that my mom and her Asian friends never went through the old "change of life"--i.e., they didn't get all the hot flashes and weird hormonal


Anonymous said...

so are you going to start eating soy>?????

Anonymous said...

I'm really confused about the meat issue. Good or bad???? Or is meat just good in moderation, i.e. once per week?? My doc advised me to eat a bit more meat and dairy, but he emphasized the quality, grassfed, etc. and he was very against the daily consumption of sugar. I definitely feel better eating meat once or twice a week versus a veggie diet. I also feel good eating good quality eggs. But if I eat too much meat I feel sluggish.


GreenFertility said...

Hi ladies!

I have come to believe your body sorta tells you what it needs, and everyone's different. So Ali, sounds like your bod doesn't like a lot of meat. Also, there's something about some blood types need more meat than others (there's some kind of blood type diet, which sounds kooky, but when I skimmed it, it kind of described me--also in Korea people are really hung up on blood type).

And yes, Kim, I am eating a little soy in miso. I did an article (not published yet) from a health mag and found that fermenting the soy breaks down the irritating proteins and miso's super good for you. I DO believe soy is super allergenic, however, and should be used with caution...


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