Vegetable Fats Lower Risk Prostate Cancer
June 11, 2013

Healthy Vegetable Fats Ward Off Prostate Cancer, Say Two New Studies

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The debate over which kind of fat is better for the body continues with a pair of new studies which find themselves in the veggie camp. Specifically, these studies deal with men who eat fats after they´ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Doctors often recommend cutting back on the fat (or at least the “bad” fats) with age or after a diagnoses such as this. These new studies from both sides of the US find that those who increase their vegetable fats not only fare well, but even see their overall chances of survival improve.

Dr. Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina told Reuters that doctors are often quick to recommend that their patients stop eating fatty foods. His study finds that fat isn´t the culprit in these men; rather, it´s the bad kinds of fat, the fats most often found in animal products.

"It actually says, if you eat more fat, albeit the right kind of fat “¦ you're less likely to die of not only prostate cancer, but really of any cause, which really flies in the face of this ℠low-fat, low-fat, low-fat' mantra that we've been told for decades now," said Dr. Freedland, explaining his study.

For the study, Freedland and his research team observed more than 4,500 men who had been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer as early as 1986. Every four years the research team asked these men to fill out a questionnaire detailing how much they ate and drank certain foods and beverages.

In the eight to nine years that followed, 315 of these men saw their condition become more severe and eventually died. Another 1,064 died from other causes. Looking at the numbers, those who reported eating more than 21 percent of their total fat intake from vegetable fat were over thirty percent less likely to suffer from prostate cancer. The men who reported eating the same amount of animal fat were more likely to suffer from fatal prostate cancer than anything else.

Researcher Erin L. Richman from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) explains why these fats appear to have a protective effect on men with prostate cancer.

“Consumption of healthy oils and nuts increases plasma antioxidants and reduces insulin and inflammation, which may deter prostate cancer progression,” said Richman, a post-doctoral scholar at the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

“The beneficial effects of unsaturated fats and harmful effects of saturated and trans fats on cardiovascular health are well known,” Richman said. “Now our research has shown additional potential benefits of consuming unsaturated fats among men with prostate cancer.”

Richman and team studied the same sample group of men and now says men who simply trade portions of their diet for veggie fat can increase their chance of survival by 29 percent.

Specifically, Richman´s study claims that men who transferred 10 percent of their daily caloric intake from carbohydrates to vegetable fats — like those found in avocados or nuts — stand a better chance against prostate cancer as well as death from a number of other causes.

For instance, instead of eating one medium potato for dinner, men could do well to have half an avocado instead. Men looking to eat more vegetable fats could also replace the cheese on their sandwich with half an avocado spread on the bread or replacing a ham sandwich with a peanut butter sandwich instead.

“Overall, our findings support counseling men with prostate cancer to follow a heart-healthy diet in which carbohydrate calories are replaced with unsaturated oils and nuts to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality,” said Richman in closing.

These two studies follow research released just yesterday which ruled out a link between vegetable oils and chronic inflammation.