Teens who eat peanut butter and other nuts may be at lower risk of benign breast disease (BBD) as adults, according to a new report published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
Led by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard, the findings are from the questionnaire-based Growing Up Today Study. It included 9039 females, aged 9 to 16 years in 1996, who completed surveys on their intake of a variety of foods annually from 1996 to 2001, and then in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2010. Starting in 2005, the study participants reported on whether they had ever been diagnosed with BBD, which was confirmed by breast biopsy (n = 112 cases).
Logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between vegetable protein and fat and biopsy-confirmed BBD. Analyses of intakes from 1996 to 1998, when the study’s cohort was youngest, showed an inverse association between vegetable fat (OR = 0.72/[10 g/day], 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.53 – 0.98; p=0.04) and BBD risk. Consumption of peanut butter and nuts at age 11 years was inversely associated with risk (P = 0.01). Vegetable protein consumption was also associated with lower BBD risk (OR = 0.64/[10 g/day], 95% CI 0.43-0.95; P = 0.03).
Peanut butter, peants, nuts, beans, and corn were the biggest sources of vegetable fat and protein in the teens. Study participants who had a family history of breast cancer were found to have a significantly lower risk if their diets contained these foods.
According to the study’s authors, what sets their study apart from other studies on the effect of diet on cancer risk is that the data were collected when the participants were consuming the foods, not years later.
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