Nuts to the Daily Telegraph … and nuts for most of our readers!

Finally, we may have the perfect paper that illustrates the critical difference between overall mortality rates and cancer-specific cancer rates among men with prostate cancer, and how affecting one may have no effect whatsoever on the other!

According to a newly published article by Wang et al. in the British Journal of Cancer,

  • Compared to men with prostate cancer who eat nuts less than once a month, men with prostate cancer who eat nuts five or more times a week after diagnosis have
    • A 34 percent lower rate of overall mortality
    • The same rate of prostate cancer-specific mortality

In other words, men who tend to have a healthier and more diverse diet are likely to live longer than men who have a very traditional, static, and less healthy diet (meat and two veg — and probably too much of them).

The study authors also showed that eating nuts prior to prostate cancer diagnosis appeared to have no effect at all on risk for diagnosis with prostate cancer.

This is yet another in a long series of studies from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, but it may be one of the most easily actionable studies yet. If you have prostate cancer, improve your diet: more nuts, more fish, more grains; less red meat, less dairy products, and less carbohydrates!

Of course our friends at the Daily Telegraph in the UK were all over this … but their headline was utterly incorrect. It reads “Nuts could reduce risk of prostate cancer death by a third“. That’s exactly what the study did not show!

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the excellent critical analysis of the findings. Unfortunate that very few news outlets have full time science editors anymore, so sites like this are really invaluable.

  2. Nice work!

    The kind of nut may make a difference. Based on recommendations but not a close look at evidence, I’ve been eating at a dozen almonds a day for many years and avoiding walnuts. I did a quick PubMed check and found very few papers even alluding to almonds and walnuts. That said, the following paper, obviously highly relevant, should be worth at least a chuckle: “A walnut-enriched diet reduces the growth of LNCaP human prostate cancer xenografts in nude mice.”

    Why, I ask, why can’t they find a decent tailor for those mice?!

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