Sidestep breast cancer by simple avoidance of Substance A (updated)

If you haven’t guessed already, I do try to find interesting data that may convince a reader that maybe its time to change their lifestyle.  Today, I was reading articles on cancer trials and came across an interesting seven-year Chinese trial that comprised nearly 75,000 women to assess how a number of factors affect their likelihood of developing breast cancer.

I have pulled some data out of that trial and graphed it above.  The blue dots are directly from the trial data.  The orange crosses and line are my own extrapolation.  The red star is the Australian government’s upper recommended exposure value to Substance A.

If I were reborn as a woman, I would look at that data and without hesitation decide to reduce “Substance A” exposure.  If I got down to 200 units of Substance A then I would have a quarter of the risk of getting breast cancer than someone exposed to the maximum recommended amount.  It would be no-brainer for me. In fact, I would go as low as I sensibly could!

Would you reduce exposure to Substance A?

Now, I am not saying that the trial that I am referring to is a perfect trial or that there are no confounding factors.  Nor am I saying that my linear extrapolation would necessarily be accurate in real life.  However, even so, this information would have me really keen to avoid Substance A and ask questions later.

What is Substance A?  I will share that and the link to the trial with people that ask me via our Facebook page.  

(Click to reveal Substance A)

Substance A Revealed

The Chinese trial evaluated the intake of carbohydrate, fibre, glycemic index and glycemic load with some other factors on the incidence of breast cancer. Here is the link to the trial description:

The data that is pulled out of that report (Substance A) is the carbohydrate consumption.


Does the trial prove that increasing intake of carbohydrate causes cancer? No.

While the trial result is strongly indicative of cancer risk increasing with carbohydrate consumption, there could be other factors also at play. For example, the consumption of seed oils has grown from almost zero, 40 years ago, to very high amounts. The Chinese have become more affluent and would likely consume many of their carbohydrates as processed foods containing both carbohydrate and seed oils. For many Chinese this means that, the higher the carbohydrate consumption, the higher the seed oil consumption.

Does a Chinese woman who eats a lot of carbohydrate has a greater risk of getting breast cancer – YES.

Also note that even the group with the lowest consumption of carbohydrate were still heavy carbohydrate consumers – they were definitely not “low carb”.

The red star in the graph above is the top of the range for daily carbohydrate consumption recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines (65% of calories). There is a huge amount of data that shows how potentially bad this is for health. This trial is just one more to show this.

Take-away Message

For premenopausal women concerned about breast cancer, I would recommend a very low carbohydrate diet that limits carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day (lower is better). I would also recommend the removal of all seed oils from the diet.

Actually, if you are a woman and concerned about ovarian or cervical cancer, I would recommend the same dietary approach. Also, same diet if you are concerned about infertility or polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis.

Actually, if you are a person (male or female) and concerned about cancer, then I would recommend a very low carbohydrate diet devoid of seed oils. You will greatly reduce your risk of cancer.

Given that half of the population alive today will be affected by cancer, you would think that such simple dietary advice would be a no-brainer. Limit carb and seed-oil intake and reduce your risk by at least five fold from a greater than 50:50 chance if you are currently a high consumer. In Australia, 50,000 people will die this year from cancer. Only 1,100 will die on the road.

Would YOU follow a diet that protects you from cancer (and many other diseases) ? Or would you say that your love of pasta, rice, pizza and ice-cream are worth the pain and misery that is very likely to strike you not that far down the track?