A new study has reported that intake of fat, especially saturated fat, is associated with increased breast density, a risk factor for breast cancer and recurrence. The study was designed to investigate the association between intake of nutrients and mammographic breast density. It included 2,252 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 69 who participated in the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program during 2004. A computer-assisted method was used to determine breast density on digitized mammograms.

No overall associations were found between breast density and intakes of total calories, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, or dietary fiber. In addition, no associations were found between breast density and intakes of calcium, retinol, vitamins A, B12, C, or D, or combined intake of vitamin D and calcium. On the other hand, weak positive associations were found between breast density and intake of total fat, especially saturated fat. Food sources of saturated fat include beef, pork and lamb, bacon and other processed meat, full-fat dairy foods such as butter, cheese, milk and cream, animal shortening (lard), and certain oils such as coconut oil, cottonseed oil, and palm kernel oil. The authors conclude that the data provides some evidence of an association between breast density and dietary intake.

Please see our article on the latest research concerning breast density and breast cancer for more information.