Western Diet Linked to Higher Leukemia Risk

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Diet has been identified as a modifiable risk factor for a number of cancers. Now, a study from the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Girona, Spain, suggests that people who eat a typical Western diet – high in saturated fat, red meat, refined grains, and processed foods, and low in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and poultry – are more likely to develop chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). A cancer of the blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system, CLL is the most common type of leukemia in Western countries like the United States.

The researchers gathered information about socioeconomic factors, lifestyle, personal and family medical history, and diet on 369 people with CLL and 1,605 controls to determine the effects of environmental and genetic factors on risk for CLL and other types of cancer. They discovered that, when compared to those who followed a prudent diet (high in low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and juices) or a Mediterranean diet (high in fish, vegetables, legumes, boiled potatoes, fruits, olives, and vegetable oil), people who followed a Western diet had a higher risk of CLL. They found no correlation between CLL and gender, body mass index (BMI), tobacco use, or physical activity level.

Sourced from: Haematologica