A fascinating study from Case Western Reserve in the medical journal. Cancer, explains why high fat diets can cause cancer. Some foods form prostaglandins that cause redness, swelling, itching pain and increased cells growth associated with cancer, while other foods form prostaglandins that slow cell growth and swelling and therefore may help to prevent cancer. Fats are classified by their chemical structures into saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats, found in vegetables, are further classified by their chemical structures into omega-3s, omega-6s and omega-9s.

All humans require two essential polyunsaturated fatty acids: an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid and an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. A healthful diet should contain a ratio of twice as many omega-6s as omega-3s, but the typical Western diet raises omega-6's and lowers omega-3s to give an unhealthy ratio of 12 -20 to 1. This causes the body to make larger amounts of a chemical called arachidonic acid that causes swelling, rapid cell growth and pain.

Omega-3s are found in whole grains, beans and other seeds, and deep water fish. The western diet includes a lot of flour that has had omega-3s removed; and meat, chicken, eggs and diary products that are not good sources of omega-3's. Vegetable oils, high in omega-6's, are in virtually every packaged food. This theory offers a plausible explanation for the very high incidence of prostate and other cancers in rich civilized countries through the world today. We await further research to see if this plausible research can be supported by others.

S Gupta, , Srivastava, N Ahmad, K Sakamoto, DG Bostwick, H Mukhtar. Cancer, 2001, Vol 91, Iss 4, pp 737-743. Mukhtar H, Case Western Reserve Univ, Dept Dermatol, 11100 Euclid Ave, Cleveland,OH 44106 USA

Reported 3/21/01; checked 8/9/05

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