Is a diet high in fat linked to various cancers?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Poor diet can have a damaging effect on many fronts. You may not eat enough foods containing protective nutrients, or you may eat too many foods that can be damaging. People who favor diets that are high in fat -- particularly saturated fat -- or low in fiber, have an increased risk of cancers of the colon, uterus, and prostate. Diets high in fat also may contribute to obesity, another major risk factor for cancer.


This content originally appeared on
Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
A diet high in fat, particularly saturated fat and cholesterol, has been linked to numerous cancers. Both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute recommend a diet that supplies less than 30 percent of calories as fat. However, just as important as the amount of fat is the type of fat you consume. The goal is to decrease your total fat intake, especially your intake of saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, and omega-6 fats, while increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.

Most Americans eat too much of the omega-6 oils found in meats and most vegetable oils, including soy, sunflower, safflower, and corn. They suffer from a relative deficiency of monounsaturated fats derived from nuts, seeds, olive oil, and canola oil, as well as a deficiency of omega-3 fats found in fish and flaxseed oil. This situation is associated with an increased risk of cancer and about sixty other conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, skin diseases, and diabetes.
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

More About this Book

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

Continue Learning about Fats

Improve Colon Health with This Oil
Improve Colon Health with This Oil
Which is better for your colon—corn oil or canola oil? Recent research suggests that canola may have the edge. In an animal study, including canola o...
Read More
What makes a fat good or bad?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Not all fat is bad. Good fats are liquid at room temperature, and bad fats are usually solid at ...
More Answers
The Best (and Worst) Fats for Your Body
The Best (and Worst) Fats for Your BodyThe Best (and Worst) Fats for Your BodyThe Best (and Worst) Fats for Your BodyThe Best (and Worst) Fats for Your Body
Protect your heart health—and much more—by choosing the right fatty foods.
Start Slideshow
What Types of Fats Should I Choose for a Healthy Diet?
What Types of Fats Should I Choose for a Healthy Diet?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.