Fasting may decrease risk of breast cancer
Maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular mammograms and exercising can reduce a woman’s risk for breast cancer. A recent study adds one more step women could take to decrease their risk.
According to researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, more extended periods of overnight fasting may help control blood glucose concentrations, and in turn lower a woman’s risk for breast cancer.
“Increasing the duration of overnight fasting could be a novel strategy to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer,” said study leader Catherine Marinac, UC San Diego doctoral candidate, in a news release. “This is a simple dietary change that we believe most women can understand and adopt. It may have a big impact on public health without requiring complicated counting of calories or nutrients.”
As total time spent eating decreased and the amount of time fasting overnight increased, glucose levels dropped, according to the study. For every three hours women fasted, there was a 4 percent decrease in postpradial glucose levels (sugar in their blood).
Higher glucose levels have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in previous studies.
The American Cancer Society’s diet guidelines for breast cancer prevention recommend that women avoid alcohol, or at least minimize consumption, and consume vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products. Studies have linked these foods to a lower risk of breast cancer.
Some physicians are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the study results.
“I would like to see more studies that show a direct correlation between lower glucose levels and lower breast cancer risk,” says Dr. Gale England, an Advocate Medical Group breast surgeon who treats patients at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “If true, this would be an easy lifestyle modification for most women.”
To learn more about breast health, visit Stories of the Girls.
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