A new study found that overweight or obese women eat a typical Western diet high in sugary and processed foods tend to have denser breast tissue. Researchers suggest this could increase their risk of breast cancer. The study revealed that women on a Western diet were 41 percent more likely to have denser breast tissue, compared to women who ate mainly a Mediterranean-style diet.
Coauthor Dr. Marina Pollan said, “Generally, it is important to maintain an adequate weight through life by controlling caloric intake, reducing consumption of energy-dense foods.”
The researchers defined the Western diet as a diet containing high-fat dairy products (whole milk, high-fat cheese, and ice cream), processed meats (bacon, ham, and salami), and refined grains (white bread, pasta, and white rice). Other examples include sweets and sweetened drinks, convenience foods (pizza, French fries, and chips), and sauces (mayonnaise and ketchup).
Women on a Western diet had a 46 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer.
The researchers looked at medical records, family and personal health history, and self-reported data about diet from over 3,500 women. The researchers also rated the density of the participants’ breast tissue as seen on a mammogram.
Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital, commented, “This very well may be true, but more studies need to be carried out to ensure that there is not a different underlying cause that might be common amongst women with a diet high in fat and processed foods.” Dr. Bernik also noted that these women could be less likely to exercise, which may have also resulted in denser breast tissue.
Dr. Bernik concluded, “Finding the root cause to the mammographic indicator of increased risk for breast cancer is very important.”
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Colitis triggered by gut bacteria changes caused by following a Western diet.