Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eating lots of fiber lowers breast cancer risk

Consuming high amounts of high-fiber
foods, such as legumes, may reduce
breast cancer risk. (Photo courtesy
U.S. Department of Agriculture) 
Women who participated in previous studies of diet and breast cancer and ate the most fiber had a 11 percent lower chance of developing breast cancer. That's the conclusion of a re-analysis of the data pooled from the studies, according to a Reuters report.
Chinese researchers led by Jia-Yi Dong of Soochow University in Suzhou, conducted the meta-analysis, which is a study that combines the data from previously conducted studies. In this case they combined data from 10 nutrition studies that individually had produced mixed results in terms of finding a link between fiber consumption and breast cancer.
By combining the data collected in all 10 studies, the researchers were able to analyze results from 710,000 women who were followed for seven to 18 years. Their study was published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

When they categorized the women according to fiber intake, and looked at who developed breast cancer and who didn't they found that those in the top 20 percent in terms of fiber consumption were 11 percent less likely to develop breast cancer compared to women whose fiber intake put them in the bottom 20 percent of the study population.

While that may seem like a lot,  only 2.4 percent of the 710,000 women in the studies developed breast cancer. Consequently, the chances of any individual in those studies developing cancer was pretty small, so an 11 percent reduction in that risk due to fiber intake is not as big of a risk reduction as it may seem, Dr. Eleni Linos of Stanford University, who wasn't involved in the research, told Reuters Health.

Nevertheless other nutrition studies have established the benefits of fiber for prevention of other conditions, including colorectal cancer, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture says most American don't get enough fiber. Their guidelines call for women consuming 25mg of fiber per day, while men should get 38 mg. 

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