A study published in the journal Nutrients has discovered a confirmed link between a healthy diet and the prevention of prostate cancer. The research team utilized data from a study carried out between 2005 and 2012 in Montreal.
Marie-Élise Parent, co-author of the study explained in a statement, “For a long time we’ve suspected that diet might play a role in the development of prostate cancer, but it was very hard to pinpoint the specific factors at play. This study is significant because it looks at dietary habits as a whole. We’ve uncovered evidence that, we hope, can be used to develop prevention strategies for prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in Canada and many other countries.”
Analyzing Three Main Dietary Profiles
INRS Ph.D. student Karine Trudeau, the lead author of the study, based her analysis on three main dietary profiles: healthy diet, salty Western diet including alcohol, and sugar-rich Western diet with beverages. The first profile leans heavily towards fruits, vegetables, and plant proteins like tofu and nuts.
The salty Western diet with alcohol includes more meat and beverages such as beer and wine. The third profile is rich in pasta, pizza, desserts, and sugary carbonated drinks. The study took age, ethnicity, education, family history, and date of last prostate cancer screening into account.
Parent and Trudeau found a link between a healthy diet and a lower risk of prostate cancer. Conversely, a Western diet with sweets and beverages was associated with a higher risk and seemed to be a factor in more aggressive forms of cancer. The study did not show any clear link between a Western diet with salt and alcohol and the risk of developing the disease.
Examining A Broader Dietary Profile
Moving away from the typical approach used in epidemiological studies, which involves looking at one nutrient or food group at a time, the researchers collected data from a broader dietary profile. “It’s not easy to isolate the effect of a single nutrient,” explained Ms. Trudeau. “For example, foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, promote iron absorption.
Calcium is often found in dairy products, which also contain vitamin D. Our more targeted approach takes this synergy into account to produce more meaningful results that public health authorities can use to formulate recommendations. Rather than counting on one miracle food, people should look at their overall diet.”
In addition to INRS faculty and students Marie-Élise Parent, Karine Trudeau, Christine Barul, and Marie-Claude Rousseau, Ilona Csizmadi (Cumming School of Medicine) participated in the research. The study was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), the Cancer Research Society (CRS), Fonds de la recherche du Québec–Santé (FRQS), and Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI).