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Does a High-Fat Diet Increase Risk?

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Research suggests that eating a diet high in fat and being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. In a new study, women who ate a high-fat diet had a greater risk of breast cancer during the more than four years of follow-up compared to women who ate a low-fat diet.

Women who got more than 40% of their calories from fat were 32% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who got less than 20% of their calories from fat. This study was very large (almost 190,000 women), so the findings are worth noting.

Still, it's important to consider that the study looked at fat in what the women ate, NOT the amount of body fat they had or whether they were overweight or obese. These three variables can influence each other. But this study suggests that even if her weight and body fat percentage are normal, a woman still may have a higher breast cancer risk if she eats a diet high in fat.

Managing both the fat in your diet AND your weight are two important steps you can take to better your overall health and possibly lower your breast cancer risk.

For more information on how to create a diet that's low in fat, visit the breastcancer.org Nutrition Section.

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