Magazine article USA TODAY

Trans Fatty Acids May Trigger the Disease

Magazine article USA TODAY

Trans Fatty Acids May Trigger the Disease

Article excerpt

Analyzing tiny fat samples from 698 European women's buttocks revealed that those with breast cancer had higher levels of trans fatty acids stored in their bodies than women without the disease. The study -- the first to show a significant association between such fats and the life-threatening illness -- is important because people can reduce trans fatty acid consumption by changing diets, researchers maintain. They suspect, but have not proven, that trans fatty acids may contribute to breast cancer development and that, by cutting back on them, some women can protect themselves from the disorder.

"We also know that American women have higher levels of stored trans fatty acids on average than the European women studied because American diets contain more of those special fats," explains Lenore Kohlmeier, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "The vast majority of trans fatty acids are naturally occurring in our diets. Most of what we get are from production of oils and fats used in food preparation."

The researchers found about a 40% increased risk of breast cancer in the women who had higher levels of trans fatty acids. "Another interesting finding was that, among our subjects, women who reported low intakes of polyunsaturated fats while showing the highest levels of trans fatty acids had the greatest risk of breast cancer. …

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