High fat diets and being overweight promote cancer growth

Heart Food DocHere is another explanation why the more overweight you are and the higher the fat intake in your diet, the higher the likelihood of cancer growth. This is particularly relevant to the belly fat around the waist.

Salvador Aznar Benitah, ICREA researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), published the study in Nature, 2016. This study identified a metastasis-initiating protein cell called CD36. CD36 is found in the membranes of cancer tumour cells and is responsible for the uptake of fats the cancer feeds upon to grow.

“We expect this study to have a big impact on the scientific community…things like this don’t happen every day. There appears to be a direct link between fat intake and an increase in metastatic potential. More studies are needed to unravel this intriguing relationship between diet and metastasis, above all because industrialised countries are registering an alarming increase in the consumption of saturated fats and sugar. Fat is necessary for the function of the body, but uncontrolled intake can have an effect on health, as already shown for some tumours such as colon cancer, and in metastasis, as we demonstrate here”
Salvador Aznar Benitah, Head of the Stem Cell and Cancer Lab, IRB Barcelona Gloria Pascual, 2016.

Fat in the diet and cancer growth

In this study, the health researchers fed mice on a high fat diet that was similar to what we would call “the modern diet” or “a cafeteria diet”. They then inoculated the mice with human oral cancer tumour cells. Under standard dietary conditions, this would usually lead to 30% of the mice developing metastasis. In this case, with the much greater fatty lipids in their blood, these mice had an 80% cancer rate and with “many more and much larger metastases”.

This is why the preventable modern lifestyle cancers of the breast, liver, stomach, bowel and prostate are called ‘fat cancers’ by some researchers.

Targeting metastasis-initiating cells through the fatty acid receptor CD36. Nature (2016) doi: 10.1038/nature20791.


  1. I am trying to find out if you have any fasting retreats in the next few months?
    I am presently reading ‘Eat Less, Live Long’

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