To Your Health
August, 2017 (Vol. 11, Issue 08)
Can Saturated Fat Harm Your Lungs?
By Editorial Staff
When the topic of lung cancer comes up, what comes to mind first? If you're like the overwhelming majority of people, your first thought is smoking causes it.
While it's true that smoking is a significant cause of lung cancer, it's not the only cause, and research has identified a source that might surprise you: eating a high-fat (particularly high saturated fat and low unsaturated fat) diet.
Researchers reviewed 10 previous studies on how dietary fat intake influences the risk of developing lung malignancies. Overall, the studies involved more than 1.4 million participants. In analyzing the 10 studies, the researchers found that while total and saturated fat intake increased lung cancer risk, people who ate the most polyunsaturated fat (found primarily in plant-based foods and oils) were less likely to develop lung cancer compared with people who ate the least polyunsaturated fat.
Specifically, substituting just 5 percent of calories from saturated fat (found primarily in red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy) with polyunsaturated fat lowered small-cell lung cancer risk by 16 percent and squamous cell carcinoma risk by 17 percent.
Talk to your doctor about overall dietary fat intake and ask for help constructing a balanced nutritional program that reduces your risk of disease.