POSTED: September 04, 2015

PCa Patients: Avoid These Foods

I’ve been advocating a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet for my prostate cancer patients for years. Many have been confused by some of my other dietary recommendations. Here’s a question on diet that appears in our current issue of Prostate Forum (Volume 14 Number 10) that explains some of those recommendations:

Dear Dr. Myers: Why should I avoid the following foods: red meat and pork; canola oil and vegetable oil; King mackerel, shark, and albacore tuna; flax oil or flaxseed; corn products and corn oil, and walnuts and pecans. Can you provide a brief explanation for each?

Red meat and pork: I am concerned about red meat consumption for several reasons. First, high red meat consumption appears to harm general health. There are longevity hot spots where people live long lives in good health. Red meat consumption is absent or uncommon in every case. Conversely, nowhere on this earth are cultures characterized as having high red meat consumption among those with longevity and good health. Second, a chemical, PhIP, forms on the surface of red meat as it browns during cooking. PhIP is a cancer-causing chemical that has been linked directly to prostate cancer. In fact, after reviewing the literature, I have concluded that this is as close to proven as you can get without doing an unethical clinical trial. That trial would be to randomize men to placebo versus PhIP to see if those on PhIP developed prostate cancer. We encourage our patients to minimize red meat consumption and increase fish consumption
King mackerel, shark and albacore tuna: My concern here relates to general health. These fish have high mercury content. In fact, it is so high that it is recommended that pregnant women avoid them to protect the fetus.
Flax oil, walnuts and pecans: These are rich in the omega 3 fat, alpha linolenic acid or ALA. ALA intake has been linked to the development and progression of prostate cancer. To add insult to injury, a recent consensus conference concluded that fish omega 3, but not ALA, are needed for human health. In sum, ALA is an inferior omega 3 fatty acid for human nutrition and may enhance the risk of prostate cancer.
Corn oil and vegetable oil: Humans do best on a diet with a proper balance between omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. In general, the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 1-3. Corn oil is 45. So a little corn oil or corn oil-containing foods can really destroy the balance between omega 6 and omega 3. Vegetable oil is an undefined mix of oils. It allows the vendor to pick the cheapest oils available. Corn oil is abundantly available and cheap.
Canola oil: It is rich in ALA and omega 6 fatty acids.

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