How diets affect your lung cancer risk

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Introduction: The Need for a Different Approach

The link between individual foods or food groups and lung cancer risk has been explored extensively in various studies.

However, there’s been a gap when it comes to understanding the impact of overall dietary patterns on lung cancer risk. This review is aimed at bridging that gap.

The team used a systematic approach and meta-analyses to dig into the association between different dietary patterns and the risk of developing lung cancer.

Method: How the Team Gathered the Data

The researchers left no stone unturned in our quest for answers.

They performed a comprehensive search through three major databases: PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science.

They sifted through studies from the inception of these databases until February 2023, focusing on studies that examined various dietary patterns and their relationship with lung cancer risk.

They also used a statistical method known as a random-effects model. This allowed them to pool together and analyze the relative risks (RR) from studies that looked at the same dietary pattern.

The Results: What We Found

The hunt led us to 12 studies that examined data-driven dietary patterns, and 17 studies that reported on a priori (pre-decided) dietary patterns. And yes, they found some fascinating connections.

A prudent dietary pattern, which includes a high intake of vegetables, fruit, fish, and white meat, seemed to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

However, the results were a bit too variable to be certain .

On the other hand, the Western dietary pattern, known for high intakes of refined grains and red and processed meats, was associated with a significantly increased risk of lung cancer.

When the team looked at healthy dietary scores, we found a consistent link with a lower risk of lung cancer.

For instance, those who scored high on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), Alternate HEI, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), or followed the Mediterranean diet, had a lower risk of lung cancer.

The dietary inflammatory index, which measures the potential of diet to cause inflammation, was associated with a higher risk of lung cancer.

Conclusion: What This Means

This review suggests that dietary patterns rich in fruits and vegetables, low in animal products, and low in inflammatory foods could be linked to a reduced risk of lung cancer.

It’s not just about individual food items but the overall diet pattern that may play a crucial role in lung cancer risk.

However, it’s important to remember that these findings are based on observational studies. Although these studies can show associations, they can’t prove cause and effect.

We need more research, such as randomized controlled trials, to confirm these results and to understand the underlying mechanisms.

In the meantime, it seems like another good reason to enjoy a balanced, healthy diet.

The research was published in Current Nutrition Reports.

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