Could a high-fat diet cause cancer?

Los Angeles – Eating a diet high in calories and fat may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, suggests a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Researchers used mice to study the link between diet and obesity and cancer, according to the study abstract. While mice that were given a healthy diet gained 7.2 grams over 14 months and had a healthy pancreas, mice that were fed high-fat and high-calorie foods gained more than twice the weight – 15.9 grams – and developed numerous pancreatic lesions, which can lead to cancer, according to a UCLA press release.

The obese mice also had abnormal metabolisms, high insulin levels and inflamed tissues in their pancreas. However, researchers noted that the lesions – which develop in a similar way in humans – take a long time to become cancerous, which means people may have time to change their eating habits to help stave off cancer.

The study was published in the October issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.