Sunday, October 14, 2007

Study: Full-Fat Dairy, Meat Reduces Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Sometimes you just have to question the logic behind some of the things that the so-called "experts" regarding health and nutrition propose to allegedly make people healthier. We've recently heard such off-the-wall ideas like a low-fat milk-making cow to help deal with obesity and disease--as if it's the FAT in the milk that is the real health threat!

But we've learned that low-fat dairy consumption can lead to infertility among other things, so removing the fat from dairy may not be such a good idea after all. And new research underscores the importance of eating full-fat dairy products to protect against one of the most dreaded diseases in the world--CANCER!

We already know that a high-fat, low-carb diet is an excellent preventative treatment for brain cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. But now researchers from the University of Hawaii have evidence from a large-scale study that says consuming full-fat dairy products is a much better option for warding off prostate cancer than the reduced-fat and fat-free dairy options.

Lead researcher Dr. Song-Yi Park, from the Cancer Epidemiology Program, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii at the Honolulu-based University of Hawaii, examined data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study which took place from 1993-2002 featuring 82,483 men who were 45 years old and older at the beginning of the study. Detailed records of what each of the study members ate were recorded for Dr. Park to observe.

Overall, there were 4,404 instances of prostate cancer which the researchers determined were not caused by the consumption of calcium or vitamin D of the dairy products the study participants ate. Also, the total volume of dairy products was also not a factor in the development of prostate cancer. This was true across all racial and ethic groups.

Instead, Dr. Park and his researchers noticed something rather peculiar about the KIND of dairy products that were ingested by the study participants and how that impacted their risk for developing prostate cancer. It turns out that there was a 12 percent DECREASE in the risk of developing prostate cancer for those who drank whole milk. Conversely, there was a 16 percent INCREASE in the risk of developing prostate cancer for those who drank 2% or skim milk.

In other words, it is the FAT in the milk and dairy products consumed that provide protection against prostate cancer, which flies in the face of everything we've ever heard about diet and health. With over 500,000 new cases of prostate cancer with another 200,000 deaths annually (and the statistics have been steadily rising since the early 1990s), this research may burst the bubble on the low-fat lie we have been forced to believe for the past thirty years!

This study appeared in the October 8, 2007 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Of course, Dr. Park's research is not going to be easily accepted by those who buy into the whole notion that a low-fat diet is protective against various forms of cancer and other health ailments. But this new large-scale study is certainly going to challenge the wisdom of that hypothesis.

The researchers do admit that the only potential downside to their study is the fact that it relied on self-reporting data provided by the study participants about what they ate which has the potential for inaccuracies from poor memory of the foods consumed. But that's just a smokescreen that will be thrown up to challenge the remarkable findings.

Incidentally, Dr. Park also published a study last month that looked at the issue of prostate cancer and how meat consumption is not necessarily a contributor to it, as detailed in this Reuters story. Hoo boy, somebody better not let PETA know about this!

Dr. Park and his researchers used data from that same Multiethnic Cohort Study to see if the specific kind of fat made a difference in the prostate cancer risk. They looked at total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat as well as n-3 and n-6 fatty acids. The dietary cholesterol, meat (broken down to reflect total amount of meat, red meat, processed meat, and poultry) and fish consumed, and the amount of fats from meat were all recorded for the men in the study.

Of the 4,404 men who developed prostate cancer, 29 percent of them had advanced tumors. Interestingly, the researchers said the type of fat and meat consumed showed NO ASSOCIATION WITH OVERALL PROSTATE CANCER RISK or tumor development.

The researchers put it succinctly this way: "We found little evidence of any relation of fat and meat intake with prostate cancer risk within any of the four racial/ethnic groups."

It can't get much plainer than that!

This study was published in the September 15, 2007 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

When asked to elaborate on the findings of the study, Dr. Park was cautious about recommending a high-fat diet which he claims begins a chain of events that could lead to cancer.

"Although diet is likely to influence prostate cancer risk, the intake of total and saturated fat do not appear to be important contributors," he exclaimed. "However, because high intake of fat can lead to obesity as well as other cancers, the consumption of high fat foods should be limited."

While I can appreciate the veracity of these findings, I must respectfully disagree with Dr. Park regarding the relationship of fat consumption to obesity. As long as you keep your carbs reduced, a high-fat diet is not harmful for an increase in obesity and obesity-related diseases. I would highly recommend anyone who believes otherwise to pick up a copy of Good Calories, Bad Calories to find out why.

The above commentary regarding fat notwithstanding, Dr. Park is at least shining a light on the faulty research that has long been allowed to reign as the gospel truth because it has never been challenged. The inconsistency of the data should be the impetus for even more research that should provide more answers about the role of meat and fat in a healthy diet rather than making ludicrous dietary recommendations based on such archaic and what now seems to be irrelevant research.

Dr. Park agrees.

"Our findings did not support any association between intake of fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, or various meats and prostate cancer risk," he concluded.

Share your appreciation with Dr. Song-Yi Park for this sound research into the positive and protective role of fat as it relates to health by e-mailing

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Blogger Dave said...

Let's be careful about drawing definitive conclusions from this study. As we've learned from "Good Calories, Bad Calories", this type of epidemiological study doesn't provide a lot of weight to a particular hypothesis (e.g. "Dairy fat is protective against prostate cancer") because of the number of uncontrolled variables. This point is also missed by the Park, whose statement about high-fat diets and obesity/cancer is only supported by epidemiological evidence.

Having said that, it certainly makes sense from a number of standpoints. Humans evolved eating animal fats, and I believe anthropological evidence of ancient and existing hunter-gatherers indicate that fatty organ meats were preferred over muscle meats. Cell membranes require made of saturated fat for proper functioning. Since the membrane's job is to keep out "bad stuff", membrane integrity is probably important in preventing cancer. And of course if you're getting significant calories from animal fat, you're probably also eating a lot of animal protein, and thus (ta-da!) less carbs. There's several reasons to believe excess carbohydrate consumption can promote cancer.

So this evidence is certainly consistent with the bigger picture. Hopefully we can get a clinical study to really nail it.

10/15/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Absolutely, Dave! My conclusion based on this research was that there is ample reason to look further into this and that we should suspend any dietary recommendations to cut your fat for health. That's the biggest travesty in all of this while people keeping eating low-fat, fat-free everything supposedly to be "healthy." UGH!

10/15/2007 9:53 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Fat is the most valuable food known to Man. Prof.dr. John Yudkin. No need to add anything to that...

10/15/2007 11:30 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Yeah, the whole dietary fat thing seems like such a no-brainer that it's difficult (for me, at least) to maintain any degree of scientific objectivity. I'm just finishing up "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston Price. It was a no-brainer 70 years ago. Feed skim milk to a calf, doom it to ill-health and death. Do the same to a human child, you get the same result.

Fat is an essential nutrient, required for various functions, including absorption of essential vitamins. Are there any "carbohydrate-soluble" vitamins?

It's going to be interesting to watch as the medical and nutritional establishment comes around on carbs. It's already happening, as you see increasing recommendations to avoid refined carbs (mostly in favor of "healthy whole grains" - as opposed to what, unhealthy whole grains?). You can't be both low carb AND low fat - you'll literally starve to death.

So as the mainstream gathers greater understanding of the deleterious effect of dietary carbohydrates, while still hanging on to the "fat is bad" myth, they're increasingly faced with a major logical contradiction. Which do you pick to go along with your protein, fat or carbs?

Again, any level of rational thought makes the answer obvious, if only based on the argument of essentialness. Of course, rationality doesn't seem to be a strong point for most involved in the field of nutrition . . .

10/15/2007 2:36 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

I couldn't agree more with you, Dave. Very well said. And indeed Nutrition and Physical Degeneration should be required reading. Much anthropological proof and nutritional wisdom in there... and there's tons more of such proof and research! We only have to look at it. Every time I think of issues like you so eloquently outline here, I keep thinking of the words of W.S. Churchill: "Study history! Study history!". We, humans, always have shown great difficulty with learning and/or applying lessons from history, unfortunately... makes me wonder why that is.

10/16/2007 2:53 AM  
Blogger cjcbrown said...

Jimmy you have shown such integrity with your bully pulpit so far. How about showing how it could be done responsibly as a participant in the media, a role model in the infosphere.

For example, not writing about epidemiological studies as if they proved anything.

You do conclude that this study needs to be followed up, as Taubes so eloquently points out.

Yet, earlier, in the much more prominent 2d paragraph, you wrote "we've learned that low-fat dairy consumption can lead to infertility" and linked that statement to an epidemiological study with no followup research.

Isn't that just propogating more bad science, as Taubes wrote? And for the very same reasons as the lowfat bad scientists spread info without scientific rigorousness.

(zeal to help others RIGHT NOW and your personal beliefs and because it's your livelihood. )

Anyway, just cheering you on and hoping for a higher road ....

10/17/2007 7:23 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Agreed, cjcbrown. But my citation of the earlier research is merely that we have seen "some" evidence that there is an issue with low-fat dairy already. My caveat that more research is needed is based upon the preliminary findings that such epidemiological studies show. I appreciate your concern, but I am merely making people aware and that's the key first step. I'm not the researcher or health "expert"--Taubes' primary target regarding the dogma regarding conventional wisdom.

10/17/2007 7:33 PM  

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