Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Low-carb diets could slow prostate tumours: study

"Eating fewer carbohydrates, like breads, chips and cakes, may slow tumour growth in patients suffering from prostate cancer, finds a new study on mice.

The thinking is that consuming fewers carbs lowers the levels of insulin in the bloodstream, which feeds growing cancer cells.

The findings are published in the Nov. 13 online edition of the journal Prostate.

"This study showed that cutting carbohydrates may slow tumor growth, at least in mice," said Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Duke University Medical Center and lead researcher on the study, in a release. "If this is ultimately confirmed in human clinical trials, it has huge implications for prostate cancer therapy through something that all of us can control, our diets."

Researchers theorized that because insulin-like growth factor (IGF) has been implicated in earlier research in growing prostate tumours, cutting off the food supply to the tumours would mean a reduction in their size and rate of growth.

They divided mice that had been injected with prostate cancer cells into three groups of 25 mice each. Though all ate the same amount of calories per day, one group ate a high-fat, low-carb diet, another a "Western" diet of about 40 per cent fat and 44 per cent carbs while yet another group consumed low-fat, high-carb food.

The animals that were fed the low-carb, high-fat diet had tumours that were 33 per cent smaller than those on the Western diet — though their tumours were the same size as those mice fed the low-fat, high-carb diet. Those on the Western diet had the shortest survival time and largest tumours.

"Though both the low-carb and low-fat mice had lower levels of insulin, only the low-carb mice had lower levels of the form of IGF capable of stimulating tumor growth," said Freedland.

The authors link the Western diet to the development of prostate cancer due its its high animal fat content, reliance on simple carbohydrates and high caloric content.

The researchers hope to next study the effect of low-carb diets in human trials next year."

Click here for the original news article.

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