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Old Fri, Aug-06-04, 18:36
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RoseTattoo RoseTattoo is offline
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I think it's necessary to be skeptical about preliminary studies like this one. The sample was relatively small, and much more damning, the study was based on self-reporting of food intake, a notoriously untrustworthy method. So I think a lot of caution is warranted in drawing conclusions.

BUT--as I understand it, there IS a modest association between breast cancer and folate deficiency. This link has been documented on the basis of several studies, and over time. So why isn't this a plausible explanation of the Mexican findings? On the basis of the food journals, we can see that the Mexican women ate most of their carbs in the form of folate-deficient foods. They apparently also ate these folate-deficient carbs as a far greater proportion of their diet than American women tend to do--and many of Americans' carbs ARE supplemented with folate. The variable, therefore, doesn't seem to be carb intake--it's the intake of folate-deficient carbs.

It's not good science to suggest that ALL carbs are therefore implicated as being associated with breast cancer. What this study showed in a very preliminary way is that SOME carbs--specifically, corn products which lack folate--are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer when eaten as a fairly high proportion of the diet.

Science can't work by drawing generalizations until all variables have been considered. I agree that it's good that carb intake is finally being examined. But we've got to be careful about conclusions we draw.
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