Men with prostate cancer can stick to low-fat diet

January 5, 2005 in Cancer Prevention, Men's Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Men with prostate cancer can stick to low-fat diet

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, men are capable of adhering to a low-fat diet for at least a year if they receive good counseling and support, a new study shows.

There is evidence that dietary fat plays a role in the progression of prostate cancer, Dr. L. H. Lumey of Columbia University Medical Center in New York and colleagues note in the medical journal Urology. However, some doctors have been skeptical about the feasibility putting men with prostate cancer on a low-fat diet.

To investigate, he and his colleagues randomly assigned 48 men with prostate cancer to a diet containing 15 percent fat or less, with or without vitamin E and selenium supplements; to a normal diet plus the supplements; or to a "control" group. All of the men received nutritional counseling at the start of the study, but the men on the low-fat diet and their spouses received more intensive support, with biweekly visits to a nutritionist for the first four months of the study, followed by monthly group sessions.

After three months, men in the low-fat diet group had cut their calorie intake from fat by 8.6 percent and lost an average of 2 kilograms (about 4-1/2 pounds), while men in the control group had increased their fat intake by 2.1 percent and lost 0.8 kg. One year after the trial began, men on the low-fat diet had lost 2.8 kg and maintained a 9.8 percent lower fat intake, while those on the normal diet had gained 0.5 kg and were eating 1.6 percent less fat.

A diagnosis of prostate cancer appears to be a strong motivation for lifestyle change, the researchers note.

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