DIETARY FAT/OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS AND CANCER

The Nutrition Handbook

Recent studies indicate that many of the hormone related cancers (breast, colorectal and prostate) are linked to a high intake of animal protein and fat. It is prudent for those diagnosed with one of these types of cancer to cut back on dietary fat to about 20% of your calories from fat (about 40 grams or about 4 tablespoons)with only 5% coming from animal sources (butter, milk, yogurt, meat, etc.) and 10% or more from fish or the plant kingdom (vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits like avocados and olives). Remember that too little fat is also harmful and if you go lower than 15% of your calories from fat (about 1-2 T oil per day) then use a supplement of borage or flax seed oil for essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are needed for proper brain and nervous function and a healthy skin texture. A panel of nutritionists and scientists at the National Institutes of Health recently recommended that the ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids should be 4 or less. Usual dietary intakes in the United States are much higher at 10-20:1. We can improve the ratio by cutting down on omega-6 and adding omega-3. Supplements of fish oil can help especially if you donÕt enjoy eating fish.

 

DIETARY FAT/OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS AND CANCER CHART

DIETARY FAT/OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

If you have been diagnosed with another type of cancer (or just want to eat a healthy diet) choose omega-3 rich foods more often. Most of us are eating too much omega-6 as arachidonic acid especially if you eat meat.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish and some nuts, seeds and vegetables. We eat fewer of these essential fatty acids in a typical modern diet and recent studies indicate that we would benefit with supplementation. Evening primrose, flaxseed and borage are good sources of GLA (gamma linoleic acid) which is also important in regulating hormones and prostaglandins (short acting local hormones).

  • Choose oily fish, nuts and seeds often.
  • Watch your intake of full fat butter, cheese and butter.
  • Use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings.
Calories Total Fat (grams) Saturated Fat (grams) Linoleic Acid (grams) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
1600 >53 18 9 >13.25
2000 >65 20 12 >16.25
2500 >80 25 16 >20.25
2800 >93 31 18 >23.25
Source: NIH Consensus Panel, May, 2000

 

The following chart shows the fat content of various foods. Remember that total fat is not the whole story. For questions about fats please contact Carolyn at carolyn@carolynkatzin.com

 

HIGH FAT (50-100% calories derived from fat)
100% Butter, margarine, vegetable oils (olive, canola etc.), mayonnaise
95% Whipping cream, olives, pecans
90% Cream cheese, Italian dressing, avocado
85% Hot dog, pork sausage, sour cream,walnuts
80% Bacon, spare ribs, half & half
75% Cashews, cheddar cheese, lamb chops, peanut butter, salami sunflower seeds, T-bone steak (untrimmed)
70% Ham, pork chops (including edge), Swiss cheese
65% Eggs (whole), ice cream, potato salad
60% Chicken McNuggets, chocolate (sweet German)
55% Granola, Big Mac, T-bone steak (trimmed)
 
MEDIUM FAT (between 30 and 50% of calories from fat)
45% Milk (regular, 3.5%), Donuts, custard, french fries, oil-packed tuna, "granola" cereals, tofu, chocolate chip cookies, Snickers, peanut M & M's
40% Creamed cottage cheese, skinless poultry, commercial taco shells, pork chop (trimmed), salmon
35% Low fat (2%) milk, Swiss and American cheese slices, flank steak, lamb (trimmed), cheese pizza (thin crust)
30% Beef bouillon, ice milk, cornbread, low fat muffins
 
LOW FAT (Below 30% of calories from fat)
25% Raw oysters, saltine crackers, low fat chocolate milk, medium fat yogurt (2-5g fat per serving), low fat (1%) milk
20% Graham crackers and most low fat crackers, low fat (2%) cottage cheese, low fat yogurt
15% Corn and flour tortillas, most bread, water-packed tuna, fresh white fish
10% Fruit and vegetables, cereals, low fat yogurt, low calorie salad dressings, Non-fat (skim) milk, shrimp, crab, lobster, chocolate syrup
 
NO FAT
  Sherbet, rice, most pastas, hard candy, egg white, most fruits and vegetables