Cheese and Cancer Risk

February 9/London/Daily Mail -- A daily helping of cheese could increase the risk of bladder cancer, research suggests.

Eating more than 53g -- roughly the same size as a small chocolate bar -- raises the chance of the disease by 50%. A daily portion of olive oil, on the other hand, can more than halve the risk of getting the disease.

Researchers set out to discover if saturated fats, such as those found in meat and dairy products, made cancer more likely and healthier fats, such as olive oil, offered some protection.

They studied the eating habits of 200 bladder cancer victims and compared them with 386 volunteers who had not developed tumors.

The results showed eating cheese had little effect unless the amount exceeded 53g a day. After that, the risk went up by more than half.

However, the Dutch and Belgian researchers stressed the numbers of people in the study may be too small to conclude that cheese is a major health threat and called for further investigations to verify their findings, which were published in the European Journal of Cancer.

Other foods, such as fish, chicken, eggs and margarine appeared to have little effect.

It is thought that diets high in saturated fat may explain why western populations have the highest rates of bladder cancer in the world.

The Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil and plant foods, may cut the odds but high smoking rates in the region mean similar numbers are affected as in northern Europe.  

From the February 11, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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