High-Fat Diet During Puberty Might Increase Breast Cancer Risk
Posted Sep 10 2010 7:23am
Puberty is a critical developmental stage of life during which many changes take place, including changes in breast tissue. Breast tissue changes include the development and growth of ducts and glandular tissue, structures that can be sensitive to many environmental and dietary factors.
New breast cancer research from Michigan State University's Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center examined the impact of high-fat diets during puberty in mice on breast development. For this study, two strains of mice were fed either a high-fat diet or a control diet during weeks 3-7 or weeks 10-14 of age. Changes in body weight, body fat, and breast tissue development were measured. In one strain of mice, a high-fat diet during puberty resulted in an increase in body weight and body fat, a reduction in breast duct development, and a reduction in breast cell growth. In the second strain of mice, feeding a high-fat diet during puberty had no effect on body weight or body fat, but stimulated an increase in breast cell growth. Additionally, a recent press release from these breast cancer researchers reports that feeding a high-fat diet to mice during puberty increases the production of inflammatory products in the breast tissue of adult mice, which might make them more susceptible to breast cancer.
These are very interesting results indicating that dietary choices during puberty might have a life-long impact on breast cancer risk. In this particular case, it appears that consuming a high-fat diet during puberty causes changes that might increase breast cancer risk. This is particularly important to keep in mind when we consider that a recent study reported that 70% of children eating school lunches consume more saturated fat than recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Additional research will be needed to more clearly define the potential relationship between high-fat diets during puberty and breast cancer risk. Initial plans from MSU indicate that these breast cancer researchers will examine the impact of a high-fat diet during puberty in mouse models of breast cancer, which will be a good first step.