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Eating nuts can help prevent prostate cancer from spreading

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, men who eat a diet high in vegetable fat may be less likely to have their disease spread, a new study has suggested.
The Straits Times - June 14, 2013
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Eating nuts can help prevent prostate cancer from spreading

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, men who eat a diet high in vegetable fat may be less likely to have their disease spread, a new study has suggested.

Researchers found that replacing some carbohydrates with this healthy fat - such as that in nuts and olive oil - was also tied to a lower risk of dying from any cause during the study.

But the opposite was true for saturated and trans fat often found in meat and processed food.

Dr Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina in the United States, said this study challenges conventional advice for prostate cancer patients to totally cut fat.

Dr Freedland, who wrote a commentary on the findings, published on Monday in Jama Internal Medicine, said: "It actually says, if you eat more fat, albeit the right kind of fat, you're less likely to die of not only prostate cancer but also of any cause, which flies in the face of this 'low-fat, low-fat, low-fat' mantra that we've been told for decades."

Researchers tracked 4,577 men who were diagnosed with localised prostate cancer during a large study of health workers beginning in 1986.

Those men filled in questionnaires every four years on how often they ate or drank about 130 different types of food and beverages.

Over the next eight to nine years, 315 men developed lethal prostate cancer - one that spread to other parts of the body or killed them - and 1,064 died from any cause.

Men who reported getting the highest proportion of their daily calories from vegetable fat - more than 21 per cent - after their diagnosis were about a third less likely to die during the study than those who ate the least vegetable fat.

And they had a borderline lower risk of developing lethal cancer.

On the other hand, men who ate a similar amount of animal fat tended to be more likely to die during follow-up - from prostate cancer or anything else - than those who skimped on meat.

Dr Erin Richman and her colleagues from the University of California in San Francisco found that switching 10 per cent of daily calories from carbohydrates to vegetable fat was linked to a 29 per cent lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and a 26 per cent lower chance of dying from any cause.

But replacing 5 per cent of those calories with saturated fat, or only 1 per cent with trans fat, was tied to a 25 to 30 per cent higher risk of death during the study period.

Dr Richman said: "The benefit was when you were replacing refined carbohydrates with olive oil and nuts."

She said vegetable fat contains antioxidants and may reduce inflammation in the body, thereby making it harder for cancer to spread.

The American Cancer Society estimates about one in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 36 will die of the disease.

Reuters

 

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