Skip to content

Pancreatic Cancer Health Center

Healthy Eating Might Ward Off Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers found a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains cut risk by 15 percent
Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In a study of more than 500,000 Americans, those who ate a healthy diet reduced their risk for pancreatic cancer by 15 percent.

The diet used in the study followed federal dietary guidelines from 2005 and recommended eating a variety of nutritional foods and limiting saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt and alcohol.

"Maintaining a healthful diet has many potential health benefits," said lead researcher Hannah Arem, from the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

"Our study specifically suggests that individuals who reported dietary intakes in adherence with the federal dietary guidelines had a lower risk of pancreatic cancer," she said.

Arem said this finding shows only an association, and does not prove that eating a healthy diet prevented pancreatic cancer.

"The study was conducted in an observational cohort, meaning that we cannot draw conclusions about cause and effect," she said.

Arem also admitted that other things might explain the findings. "While we tested the influence of other characteristics and behaviors including education, smoking history, physical activity and vitamin use, in addition to other factors, the finding could be due to healthful behaviors other than diet that we did not query about on the questionnaire," she said.

The report was published in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"Identifying dietary risk factors for pancreatic cancer has been elusive," said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society. "But following dietary patterns like these may not only reduce the risk of this fatal disease, but a host of other diseases."

McCullough added that it is important to focus on eating an overall healthful diet and not on a single nutrient, supplement or specific food in hopes of preventing cancer or any other disease.

"The effect of eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and limiting sugar, unhealthy fats and alcohol, is greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to lowering the risk of chronic disease," she said.

Today on WebMD

human pancreas
Do you know what they are?
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
QUIZ
Patrick Swayzes Widow Healing From Loss
FEATURE
 
Pets Improve Your Health
SLIDESHOW
Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
 

WebMD Special Sections