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Red meat increases risk of prostate cancer

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July 10, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that high intake of fat particularly from animals and eating red meat may increase risk of prostate cancer.

It is a possibility because the study was observational and it did not reveal a causal relationship between fat intake and risk of prostate cancer.

For the study, Edward Giovannucci from Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass and colleagues analyzed data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study of 51529 U.S. men, aged 40 through 75. 

The researchers found men in the highest quintile of total fat intake were 79 percent more likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer after adjustment for age and energy intake, compared with those in the lowest quintile of intake.

The increase was largely contributed to animal fat, which accounted for 63% increase. On the other hand, vegetable fat was not correlated with prostate cancer.

Red meat consumption was associated with 164% increased risk for advanced prostate cancer while fish or dairy fat (with the exception of butter) was not associated with prostate cancer.

Specifically, "saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and α-linolenic acid, but not linoleic acid, were associated with advanced prostate cancer risk."  However, when saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, linoleic acid, and α-linolenic acid were considered simultaneously, α-linolenic acid was associated with 243% increased risk for advanced prostate cancer.

The researchers concluded "The results support the hypothesis that animal fat, especially fat from red meat, is associated with an elevated risk of advanced prostate cancer." (reporting by David Liu, pHD)

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