Please don’t take the title of this post too literally. I’ve read a couple intriguing articles about breast cancer prevention lately; one had to do with starches in the diet and another had to do with wine in the diet. Briefly, the first study linked increased starch intake with an increased likelihood of breast cancer recurrence, while the second study showed that red wine might help prevent breast cancer recurrence. Interesting enough, this article published last November found that women who consumed as few as three servings of wine a week increased their risk of developing breast caner.
So what do we do? Drink wine? Don’t drink wine? Reduce our starchy foods? This is just an example of why it’s important to not take everything you read at face value. I think people often read the titles of articles and just go with it….“Nice, I’m drinking some wine tonight! Heck, I’ll have three glasses!” or “Crap, I’m cutting out starches for good. No more, I don’t want breast cancer!”. If you actually look deeper you will find that there are several problems with both of these statements;
1. The wine study had 36 subjects. Need I say more? Clearly more research is needed.
2. The starch study found that “increased risk of breast cancer was limited to those with low-grade tumors”.
3. The starch study found that those who had a recurrence of breast cancer consumed an average of 2.3 more grams of carbohydrates for the first year, and those who did not have a recurrence of cancer consumed an average of 2.7 grams of carbohydrates. A majority of the carbohydrates were from starches. So in other words, the difference was about 6 grams. That’s not a big difference. And the 2.3 grams of carbohydrates is a pretty decent amount, so don’t go cutting your carbs too much, ladies!
4. Any time you read a study review you have to assume that the author interpreted the study accurately. Most often you can not actually read the study yourself, as it typically costs an arm and a leg, so you have to assume that they author read the study and interpreted it as he/she should have. Trust me when I say this is not always the case!
BOTTOM LINE: In regards to both of these studies, wait for more research to be presented. If you’ve had breast cancer and it was estrogen receptor positive, consider the fact that if you have a choice between red and white wine, the red is most likely going to be the better choice. As for starch in your diet, everyone (men, women, with or without cancer) should make sure they do not get too much starch in their diet. Choosing the non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, etc. over the starchy ones like corn, beans, and potatoes, might be a good idea, but don’t stop eating starches all together, please. If anything, be more cautious about your serving sizes and daily snacking habits. Meet with a local dietitian to see how much starch (and carbohydrates) you should be eating each day.
Enjoy your Hump Day everyone! This is my Saturday today, so of course I have a long list of things to do, including making shepherd’s pie and some mean thai peanut sauce (to be posted in the next week or so).