Approximately 1300 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer were followed for two years to document their dietary patterns and recurrence or progression of their disease. In this study, two specific animal foods were found to be risky - the men that ate the most eggs or poultry with skin were twice as likely to have their disease recur or progress.1
This study makes three important points.
Diet does matter, even after a prostate cancer diagnosis.
There is something in chicken, specifically in the crispy outer portion and skin that is powerfully cancer-inducing. Heterocyclic amines, carcinogenic compounds that are formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures, are a probable culprit. A November 2009 study of 175,000 men showed an increase in prostate cancer risk with consumption of barbequed and grilled meat.2
Consumption of eggs and egg whites is not without risk. Eggs are high in animal protein, which has been linked to cancers. Our population's idea that more protein is favorable and that egg (whites) are the perfect food does not hold up to scrutiny. Eggs also could affect prostate cancer due to their high choline content - egg consumption increases the amount of choline in the plasma, and high plasma choline increases prostate cancer risk.3
Four previous studies implementing a plant-based diet and exercise following prostate cancer diagnosis found a decrease in prostate cancer progression rates.4
Dr. Fuhrman is a best-selling author and board certified family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine. Visit his informative website at DrFuhrman.com.
1. Richman EL et al. Intakes of meat, fish, poultry, and eggs and risk of prostate cancer progression. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Dec 30. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Sinha R et al. Meat and meat-related compounds and risk of prostate cancer in a large prospective cohort study in the United States. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Nov 1;170(9):1165-77. Epub 2009 Oct 6.
4. R. W.-L. Ma, K. Chapman. A systematic review of the effect of diet in prostate cancer prevention and treatment. J Hum Nutr Diet, 22, pp. 187-199