Breast cancer risks

Reasonably conclusive evidence that for women, reducing waist size in their middle decades can substantially reduce their risk of developing breast cancer after the menopause.

Quote: “Going up one skirt size every ten years was associated with a 33 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer after the menopause, while going up two skirt sizes in the same period was associated with a 77 percent greater risk.”.

Given that all women have a 1 in 8 (roughly 12%) ‘lifetime’ risk of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives (although for the bulk of this 12% of all women this will be when they are elderly), allowing the waist size to gradually creep up a couple of sizes is tantamount to changing the risk from 1 in 8 to nearly 1 in 5! Conversely, reducing your waist size produces equally dramatic improvements in risk over the long run.

We know that for men, having a pot belly (and visceral fat) is a significant predictor of cardiac and vascular disease. So an increasing waistline is bad news for everyone.

Hopefully, now that the completely wrong ‘anti-fat’ message of the last 30 years seems to be finally petering out, men and women can focus on the real issues to do with eating, namely;

  • don’t eat low fat or other processed foods (don’t eat foods your grandmother wouldn’t recognize)
  • don’t eat sugary things (like biscuits, crisps, cakes, sugary chocolate) and don’t add sugar to drinks except for a tiny bit
  • eat more healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish etc.) but don’t be frightened of saturated fats in low quantities
  • low to moderate consumption of red meat (but don’t avoid the fat in red meat)
  • low to moderate consumption of the ‘big carbs’ (bread, pasta, rice and potatoes)
  • don’t mix big carb foods with protein foods – try to keep them separate
  • don’t over-indulge in sugary fruit, and not with meals for sure
  • limit alcohol to sensible low levels (especially don’t drink every day)
  • always drink a pint of water before you eat, not during or after your food intake (especially if you are eating proteins)
  • exercise regularly – remember you don’t need to exercise for hours as short, intense bursts work just as well from a metabolic health point of view
  • sleep – sleep well, and your waistline will reduce – this is a complicated topic, so see my other blog posts on this