A new study has linked a “meat-sweet” Western diet with increased risk for breast cancer in postmenopausal Asian women.
Overweight postmenopausal women who ate a typical Western diet were more than twice as likely to develop the disease than women whose diets rely more on vegetables and soy, which is more common in Asian countries.
The “meat-sweet” diet was described by researchers as including “primarily pork but also poultry, organ meats, beef and lamb and with saltwater fish, shrimp and other shellfish as well as candy, dessert, bread and milk.” The “vegetable-soy” diet included “different vegetables, soy-based products, and freshwater fish.”
This news comes on the heels of a study we noted last year that links consumption of red meat to breast cancer.
Breast cancer rates among women in Asia have traditionally been low, but they have increased steadily in the past decades. The reason for the rise is unclear, but some researchers have postulated that it may be due to environmental factors or the shift to a more Western diet.
The BBC reports that according to the Chinese Anti-Cancer Association, “the incidence and death rates of breast cancer in China’s major cities rose respectively by 37% and 38.9% during the 1990s.”
In the study, the increased risk appears to occur only in postmenopausal women who are overweight. The research didn’t examine whether the increased risk was due to the Western diet, being overweight, or a combination of the two.
The study was published in the July issue of “Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.” It involved close to 1,500 Chinese women from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study.
Plus: Also noticed at the BBC — “Sausage Additive Linked to Cancer.” Argh.