Breast Cancer: San Diego State University Research Finds That Highly Acidic Foods Can Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer Recurrence And Mortality
: A new study by researchers from San Diego State University has found that cancer survivors have a reduced capacity to process highly acidic foods and such foods can actually increase the risk of recurrence or even mortality. Foods such as fresh and processed meats, cheese, eggs, sugary food, soft drinks, and grains are acid-producing foods and they produce sulfuric, phosphoric, or organic acids. The study also found that cancer survivors who smoked in the past had mortality risk that is trifold if they consumed such foods.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/9/6/1817
Health researchers from San Diego State University analyzed the diet patterns of nearly 3,000 women who had either smoked in the past or had never smoked, but have had breast cancer. Their findings could have implications for the dietary guidelines for cancer survivors.
Dr Tianying Wu, an associate professor of epidemiology, whose research at the School of Public Health focuses on nutrition and aging related outcomes among cancer survivors told Thailand Medical News, "Higher acid producing foods can lead to higher mortality from all causes, not just from cancer. Some breast cancer survivors had highly acidic diets, but if they were past smokers with a long history of high intensity smoking, their risk was three times higher than those who never smoked."
It was observed that smoking increased the risk for all cancer mortality, including breast cancer. In addition, women who had smoked before and continued to eat acidic foods also had a higher incidence of breast cancer recurrence.
Dr Wu added, "Meat and cheese can be the main culprits, as they have a lot of protein. Vegetables are alkaline producing. While some fruits have high acidic content, once ingested, they convert to alkaline. A diet balanced between acidic- and alkaline-producing foods is best."
Dr Wu is the first and corresponding author of the study and she designed and conducted an ancillary study by leveraging data collected from a large cohort, the Women's Healthy Eating and Living study undertaken by Dr John Pierce, Professor Emeritus of cancer research with the department of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego.
The participants were followed for an average of 7.3 years, and given periodic dietary assessments.
It was observed that cancer survivors who also smoked in the past will have a reduced capacity to process acidic foods and to excrete excess acid because they have impaired renal and lung functions essential to excrete acids, Dr Wu said.
Present dietary guidelines do not consider the impact of acid producing diets on increased risk for breast cancer mortality, Dr Wu explained. More importantly, they do not consider the differing susceptibilities to acid-producing diets between past smokers and individuals who never smoked, among breast cancer survivors.
Typically, past smokers account for 35-40% of breast cancer survivors, hence, it is important to have specific guidelines for past smokers, Dr Wu emphasized. Diets are definitely not one size fits all. Individualized nutrition is one of the emphasis of 2020-2030 strategic plans for the National Institutes of Health's nutrition research.
Dr Wu further added, "When comparing plant-based to animal-based diets, it is quite complex. Both can produce acid, but plant-based foods tend to have more minerals which can balance the acids. Protein is important for human health, but we just need to pay attention to the ratio of acidic versus alkaline foods that we eat daily."
The researchers advocate a more plant based diet against a meat base diet for all cancer survivors.
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