A recently published study in the journal BMC Cancer found some interesting associations between dietary fat and cancer. Unfortunately the way these findings were reported in the press were highly misleading.
First, the headlines. Science Daily, a generally reliable source of info for folks like me, reported this: "Excessive Dietary Fat Caused 300 Percent Increase in Metastasizing Tumor Cells in Animal Models".
Now- tell the truth- what immediately came to mind when you read that?
Let me guess: "Another study "confirming" how bad saturated fat is, and how low-fat eating can help prevent cancer".
The researchers didn't even investigate saturated fat.
Here's what they did. They implanted tumor cells in mice. Then they fed one group a "high-fat" diet and the other group a "lean" diet. Then, using a number of sophisticated measuring techniques, they looked to see how the diets impacted the ability of cancer cells to metastasize (spread from one part of the body to another).
Here's what they found: Oleic acid- the kind of (monounsaturated) fat found in olive oil- had precisely no effect on the spreading of the cancer. Linoleic acid, however, had a big effect- the rate of metastasis rose a dramatic 300 percent!
Linoleic acid is Omega-6: it's the fat found in all those vegetable oils that everyone tells you are so good for you. Corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, etc.
This information was buried in the 15 th paragraph (of a 19 paragraph article).
There's been mounting evidence that overconsumption of omega-6 fats may not be such a great thing. I've been saying for a long time that the balance between omega 6 and omega 3 fats in the diet is an extremely important one for human health. The ideal ratio is between 1:1 and 4:1. More typically, those consuming a Western diet get between 15:1 and 25:1.
You can shift this balance to a more healthy one by cutting back on high omega-6 vegetable oils (which are generally inferior to begin with) and increasing your intake of omega 3's.
You shouldn't cut omega-6's out of your diet completely- they're good for you in the right amounts. Be sure to get a high quality omega-6, like GLA found in evening primrose oil, and stay away from the commercial processed vegetable oils.