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Saturated Fat & Cancer Progression

Does cutting down on saturated fat intake improve cancer-free survival?

January 18, 2010 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited



Does it have to be all or nothing, though? Researchers at the University of Texas followed a few hundred men after they had their prostates removed for cancer, and split them into a high saturated fat group and a low saturated fat group, and asked the simple question: does just cutting down on meat improve cancer-free survival.
Now this was texas, so that meant comparing those that ate the equivalent of three quarter’s of a bucket of KFC worth of saturated fat, to those eating half a bucket’s worth a day. The question is, does that modest drop in meat consumption significantly improve cancer-free survival, or do you really have to cut out all meat to see a significant effect?
This is how long men lived before their cancer came back, eating that much saturated fat a day. Those who ate less saturated fat got this far out before their cancer returned. Less than 20 months; more than 40 months. That’s the difference even a quarter bucket of KFC worth of saturated fat may make if we have cancer. Obviously cutting all out saturated animal fat is better, but it’s not all or nothing.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on saturated fatmeat, and cancer survival. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on saturated fat, meat, and cancer survival. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Toxins

    Are plant saturated fats from coconuts the same as animal saturated fats?

  • Gio

    What about cultures that have certain cancers but have managed to avoid breast, prostate, ovaries, and colon, yet they manage to eat massive quantities of saturated fat:

    And the Inuits who eat mostly fat and meat but avoid prostate cancer:

    • Toxins

      Your okinawan study says nothing about high saturated fat, it says the opposite.
      ” Some of the most important factors that may protect against those cancers include low caloric intake, high vegetables/fruits consumption, higher intake of good fats (omega-3, mono-unsaturated fat), high fiber diet, high flavonoid intake, low body fat level, and high level of physical activity.” This implies plant based (high folate levels, unsaturated fats). Now looking at the Inuits. their lifespans are much shorter compared to the the peoples of Canada. They are on average 15 years shorter. Just because they don’t get prostate cancer doesn’t mean they are healthy. Cherry picking will get you no where, examine all relevant data.

  • blutz

    Do you have a link to the study’s report? And why does the video use “saturated fat” and “meat” consumption interchangeably? (I realize meat has a significant amount of saturated fat but has a very different nutrient profile than, say, butter or cheese.)

    • Toxins

      If you click under the sources cited section you will see a link to the study. Animal products are the top sources of saturated fat. Butter and cheese are also high sources of saturated fat and are also harmful compared with other animal products.

  • Sandy

    I have been plant based diet for 4 years and just found out I have breast cancer and probably had it for 10 years. It measures approximately 5 cm. What vegetables to you suggest I should be eating most of to help get rid of this. I will probably have chemo and a mastectomy soon.

  • Mimi

    Do you have any specific diet recommendations for heptocellular carcinoma? My husband had Y90 treatment for a 7cm tumor in November. Since then all MRIs have had good results – no detectable cancer. Besides low salt and low cholesterol do you have any other suggestions? He is trying to gain wait after a major surgery last fall that left him skinny and weak. His overall health right now is good. Our goal is to get thru hep c treament this summer and try to put off a liver transplant as long as possible.