Low Fat Diet Menu Reduces Common Skin Cancers
If you have a history of skin cancer, or are looking for ways to reduce your risk, you might want to adopt a low fat diet menu according to research just out of Australia. The findings tie high intakes of total fat to increased risk of a form of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma among those who have a history of the disease. The research appears in the International Journal of Cancer.
“In addition to protecting the skin from sunlight, people who have a history of skin cancer would benefit from lowering their total fat intake,” says Dr. Torukiri I. Ibiebele of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia.
Though intakes of dietary fat have been associated with skin cancer in the past, until now there was sparse, inconsistent evidence of any link between the two.
The team studied the diet of 457 men, 600 women aged 25-75 years old, computing their daily intake of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in meats, fried foods, breads, veggies and what’s used in cooking.
The subjects all lived in the sub-tropical area of Nambour, Queensland, a place with high exposure to ultraviolet sunlight. Findings stand up even after allowing for factors that could be linked to cancer such as where a subject lived and their level of exposure to the sun.
Basic information about diet, skin color and sun exposure was collected using a questionnaire in 1992.
The follow up to the study lasted 11 years, during which time 267 of the study subjects developed a total of 664 basal cell skin tumors – the worlds most common skin cancer.
Another 127 subjects developed a total of 235 squamous cell skin tumors – the second most common form of skin cancer. These two forms of non-melanoma skin cancer account for the vast majority of skin cancers. These are readily and successfully treated when caught early.
The Australian study found there was no significant association between the amount of fat a subject consumed each day and the overall risk of either basal cell or squamous cell cancers.
However, if a subject had a prior history of skin cancer, higher total fat intake was associated with an almost twofold increased risk of squamous cell cancers.
This supports a body of work that shows that prior skin cancers make high fat diets a no-no.
Eating a low fat diet isn’t as hard as you might think. You need to start by being aware of what you’re putting in your body.
Get into the habit of reading food labels, watch for the hidden fats in those processed and baked goodies and don’t neglect the fats and oils used in cooking. Keep your goals realistic, that means don’t cut everything all at once.
Be sure that you stock your fridge and cabinets with healthy options – whole grain pastas, breads and grains, plus lots of fresh veggies and fruits.
You can also work to make substitutions – leaner cuts of meat, adding more chicken or fish (once or twice per week), fresh veggies and fruits to your menu. Always eat breakfast, as this will keep your blood sugar levels stable till lunch, making you less likely to snack.
Water is super helpful, as it aids digestion and keeps you feeling fuller, longer. It’s also important to watch the portion sizes on all your meals, as what you’ve become accustomed to seeing on restaurant plates is usually quite a bit bigger than a true serving.
Remember, deciding to choose a low fat diet menu doesn’t mean depriving yourself. Some fat is good, and you can certainly enjoy a treat once in a while, but cutting the unnecessary fats in your daily intake can certainly be helpful for skin cancer patients, and the rest of us too.