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Is it What You’re Eating or What’s Eating You?
Moving on to proteins, high animal protein is associated with risk for breast cancer. First, a diet high in animal protein often contains high animal fat. Second, a high protein diet raises the levels of prolactin, another hormone that can stimulate breast cancer growth (Cancer Research Journal, 1977, and Journal of Endocrinology, 1983). Of major concern is bovine growth hormone administered to western cattle beginning in the 1950’s, and paralleling the rise of breast cancer in the United States.
Among those consuming the most red meat, a New York study of 14,000 women found a 25% increased risk of breast cancer, and a study in Uruguay showed up to a 770% increase in risk. In a study of nearly 26,000 women, those who ate meat more than five times per week had 2.5 times greater risk for breast cancer than those who ate meat fewer than two meals per week
(International Journal of Cancer, 1995)
Let us look at carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates like white sugar and flour. High sugar intake is a major risk factor for breast cancer in women over 45. Sugar increases insulin levels, and insulin is a strong promoter of cell growth. Since there are insulin receptors on the surface of breast cells, insulin can create the estrogen effect.
Scientists at the University of Toronto found a 283% increased risk of breast cancer in women with high insulin levels. According to some researchers, high levels of insulin and insulin- like growth factor are actually causative for cancer of the breast (Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia, 2001)! High dietary sugar provides cancer cells their preferred food and reduces the body’s ability to mount an immune response.
The caffeine family also contributes to increased risk of breast cancer. Caffeine and related chemicals are found in coffee, tea, colas, orange soda, Mountain Dew, peanuts, cheese and – heaven forbid! – chocolate. Consumption of these foods and beverages promotes breast dysplasia, gradual cellular changes towards malignancy. Some surgeons restricting the caffeine family prior to biopsy have actually seen breast lumps shrink or even disappear within weeks.