Fiber, Fat and Breast Cancer Prevention

One of our roles as Naturopathic physicians is to educate and assist you in making the dietary improvements that will prevent many chronic, degenerative diseases. The mounting evidence that dietary fat and fiber intake influences your risk of developing breast cancer makes these changes even more critical. In a recent study, increasing fiber content in the diet from 15 to 30 grams per day reduced blood estrogen levels, one of the variables in the development of breast cancer.

Another risk factor for breast cancer is a diet high in fat (like the average American diet with 40% of the daily calories from fat). Fiber appears to work to lower blood fat levels by enhancing its elimination in the stool. Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, beans, veggies and fruit) are the primary source of fiber. The average American eats only 15 grams of fiber per day, while 30 grams is recommended. Excellent sources of fiber include garbanzo and kidney beans, pears, berries, dried figs, seeds, Essene bread, bran and cooked whole grains.


It has been known for the last two decades that total fat intake is strongly associated with cancer of the breast, prostate and colon. Now, new research confirms that saturated and polyunsaturated fats are the prime culprits. Both of these oils are easily oxidized (or rancidified) into “free radicals”, which may account for their potentially carcinogenic properties. As a general rule, you should eat no more than about 20 percent of your total caloric intake each day from fat, with only about half of that coming from saturated and polyunsaturated. That translates to about 44 grams of total fat (400 fat calories) from a 2000 calorie per day diet.


Saturated fats are found in animal products such as meat and poultry, dairy, cheese, ice cream, eggs and butter. Coconut, palm and cottonseed oils are the only plant oils which are saturated. Polyunsaturated fats are high in corn, safflower and soy oils. It’s not that these polyunsaturated fats are bad, it is just that they (like all oils) should be used in small amounts and never heated to the burning stage. Monounsaturated fat (olive, canola and peanut oils) had no association with cancer incidence at any site studied andactually has a protective affect against heart disease, too.

Avatar Written by Sally LaMont ND

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