Sarah from Roseville, New South Wales, Australia asked:

Can fats in margarine give you cancer?

Margarine and cancer

I listened to an interview on radio recently where the expert said fats in margarine increased the risk of breast cancer. Is this true? Should I switch to butter?

The source:
Our answer

It is difficult to separate what we eat into individual nutrients, as our diets and the food we eat are complex. It is important that recommendations on preventing cancer are based on evidence of studies related to people. Currently there is not enough quality evidence about margarine and breast cancer. Although some laboratory-based studies have raised concerns about margarine, this has not been shown to be an issue in large-scale population studies. We need only small amounts of spreads and oils. It is best to limit your intake of saturated fats (found mainly in animal fat such as butter) and trans fats (mainly found in processed food) and eat mainly monounsaturated fats found in plants and omega-3 oils found in fish and nuts and seeds. Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce our cancer risk. Maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active help to reduce breast cancer risk, particularly in women who have already experienced menopause, while drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.

This page was last updated on: June 30, 2014
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