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New study: Can a low-fat diet reduce cancer risk?

New study: Can a low-fat diet reduce cancer risk?

Diet can affect tumor growth. However, there are a lot of different diets, the effectiveness of which has hardly been proven by scientific studies. A group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, has reported two diets that have surprisingly different effects on tumor growth in mice with pancreatic cancer. This is a low-calorie diet and a keto diet, that is, a diet that is very low in carbohydrates. In both cases, attention was also paid to a low glycemic index (Glyx). Researchers have found that a low-calorie diet slows tumor growth through various metabolic processes in the body. The ketogenic diet, where the majority of calories consumed come from fat, does not show these effects. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature.

In addition to the mice experiments, the authors retrospectively examined the relationship between eating habits and survival time in 1,165 patients with pancreatic cancer. Preliminary results suggest that a diet high in fat and protein, but low in carbohydrates, may be associated with longer survival times. This relationship was somewhat more pronounced in the low-carb diets, where the fat and protein components were vegetable rather than animal.

Because these observations ostensibly contradict the results of the animal study, the authors believe that further investigations are necessary in order to better understand the effect of diet on metabolic changes that affect tumor growth. They also noted that low-glycemic diets are not appropriate for all cancer patients. It is difficult to maintain and not always tolerated. Additionally, weight loss due to diet can affect treatment options.

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DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-04049-2