The Mediterranean diet does not go far enough to prevent breast cancer; and it's all because of the Big Fat Lie about whole grains.
There's no question of it, the Mediterranean diet is heart protective; and to be highly recommended but it does not go far enough to prevent breast cancer.
Research clearly shows that "making comprehensive dietary changes in line with a Mediterranean diet did not reduce women's risk for breast cancer recurrence or metastasis."
True whole grains lie at the core of the Mediterranean Diet along with fish, olive oil and plenty of legumes.
By international law millers are allowed to extract up to 40% of the goodies from flour and still label it as "wholemeal."
The photograph above from a popular Mediterranean Diet site clearly reveals this dishonesty; the bread circled is anything but whole grain.
Nor is it a slip of the pen; another graphic on the same page again confirms that the term "wholegrain" is used in a very misleading way. Why is this is so important in the prevention of breast cancer?
True wholegrain bread looks and is quite different.
There is strong research showing that patients with raised blood glucose, metabolic syndrome and insulin-resistance all have a high risk of contracting breast cancer; and after treatment suffering from a recurrence. The five year survival is much lower.
True wholegrain flour that contains 100% of the bran, germ and endosperm in their original ratios has a vital role to play in managing blood glucose and diabetes; there is no separation of the three streams.
It's lying counterfeit clearly has less of the bran; the fat, most of the vitamins and some of the protein are extracted too. But by international law this is completely legal. These are the parts of true wholemeal bread that give protection again diabetes and breast cancer.
The Mediterranean diet does not go far enough to prevent breast cancer. It must include true whole grains, not that from lying millers.
To give greater clarity scientists have resorted to speaking about "whole-kernel" wheat bread.
It is quite different to "wholemeal" wheat bread.
Particularly when acidified with white wine vinegar or baking with the sourdough method the "whole-kernel" bread gives significantly higher satiety as compared to the counterfeit; and has a much lower GI.
Consumption of true whole grains is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes; and thus of breast cancer. The mechanisms are complex but it concerns the incretin hormones that signal the hypothalamus in the brain; that's what controls the sense of satiety.
In short those eating true 100% wholegrain wheat bread are likely to consume less starch. One slice is enough.
The bran of true whole grains contains important phytonutrients known as lignans. In the gut they are turned into oestrogen-like compounds that compete at sites on the breast reducing the risk of cancer.
In fact just one slice of this true wholegrain bread daily reduces the prevalence of breast cancer by nearly 50%.
Unfortunately true whole kernel bread like that above is impossible to find in grocery stores and even specialist bakeries. To get that protection from breast cancer that the Mediterranean Diet does not provide, you have to mill your own flour.
About 25% of malignant breast tumours do not have these Estrogen Receptors; it is unlikely that the lignans in bran afford any protection against them. They are "ER-negative."
But for the other 75%, the bran in true 100pc wholemeal has a vital role to play in the prevention and recurrence of breast tumours; one that is missing in any Mediterranean Diet that allows bread made from refined flour.
However these lignans are also found in other completely unrefined foods, in particular legumes; so there will be partial protection for those enjoying the Mediterranean Diet.
This would explain why there is no overall reduction in the risk of breast cancer recurrence or metastasis.
But women who made the greatest improvements in adopting the Mediterranean Diet "demonstrated a 41% lower risk of recurrence" compared to those who made the fewest changes.
So clearly those who took real trouble to improve their lifestyle obtained significant amounts of lignans; but the women in the lowest quartile were not getting enough without genuine 100pc bread.
Researchers reporting in JAMA Surgery have found that significant weight loss in women with a BMI greater than 35 is associated with a 40% lower risk of breast cancer; that's massive.
A Mediterranean diet plan that includes refined grains simply will not produce the weight loss needed for this kind of protection.
The Mediterranean diet does not go far enough to prevent breast cancer. Without the lignans in true whole grains there was little significant reduction of recurrence or metastasis.
In short in today's world of toxic chemicals and ultra-refined foods it takes a real effort to step up to a life without medication and the promise of old age without disability.
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