In the past 50 years, the spotlight on our gastronomic habits has revealed that what we eat affects more than just our waistlines.
Researchers around the world are focusing on diet in an attempt to pinpoint how specific foods work inside the body, and whether or not there is such a thing as a smoking gun that instigates or exacerbates cancer and other serious chronic illnesses.
It’s no secret that the rich Western diet -- high in animal fats, poor in fruit, vegetables and grains consumption -- has played a starring role. We like our bacon cheeseburgers, T-bone steaks and French fries, but does that really make us ticking time bombs?
According to the research, maybe.
Researchers at UCLA wanted to know if the traditional Western diet played a role in prostate cancer, the most common cancer among American men.
It turns out it does.
The typical Western diet increases pro-inflammatory substances inside the body that have been associated with cancer. These substances contribute to cancer cell survival, proliferation and migration.
Researchers call this the cell cycle progression (CCP), a measure used to predict whether or not cancer is likely to develop or return.
The findings are especially important for men previously diagnosed with prostate cancer because the higher the CCP score, the higher your risk for developing future aggressive prostate cancer.
While not every prostate cancer is deadly, the CCP score can predict with reasonable accuracy which patients will potentially die from their cancer.
However, William Aronson, a clinical professor of urology at UCLA and chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and colleagues have found a way to alter the cell’s composition.
Men with prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet and took fish oil supplements had lower levels of pro-inflammatory substances in their blood and a lower CCP score than men who ate a typical Western diet, UCLA researchers reveal in a study published in the early online edition of Cancer Prevention Research.