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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Am J Epidemiol 2007;166:1174-85
Up to this point we've known that sugar, high fructose, processed meats, aspirin, and pesticides increase your risk for pancreatic cancer. And that vegetables, fruit, B vitamins, and Vitamin D will decrease your risk. A new study has found that eating whole grains might reduce pancreatic cancer risk.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. It is thought that it is strongly influenced by genetic factors, but other factors within our control also appear to affect risk. This study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, compared the diets of 532 people with pancreatic cancer to the diets of 1,701 people who did not have cancer. The people in the study answered questionnaires about their intake of whole grains, refined grains, mixed grains, and sweetened refined grains over the previous year.

Researchers defined whole grains as brown rice, popcorn, tortillas (corn or flour), wheat germ, cooked oatmeal, oat bran and other types of bran, and other grains. Refined grains included white bread, white rice, bagels, pasta, muffins, biscuits, rolls, pancakes, pizza, waffles, and pretzels. Mixed grains included cold cereals, cooked breakfast cereals, dark breads, and some crackers. Sweetened refined grains included doughnuts, cakes, pies, cookies, sweet rolls, and brownies. The study showed that whole grains were associated with reduced pancreatic cancer risk, while other grains showed an increased risk.

After analyzing the diets for nutrient content, fiber was found to protect against pancreatic cancer. People with the highest fiber intake (at least 26.5 grams per day) had a 35 to 48% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than people with the lowest fiber intake (15.6 grams per day or less).

There are some major problems with this study as far as 'whole grain' definitions. Best to use an accurate nutritional definition-the more processed the grain the less whole it is. And the more refined and sweetened the greater the risk.

"These findings support the idea that eating a high-fiber diet with plenty of whole grains can prevent pancreatic cancer," commented Louise Tolzmann, a naturopathic doctor in Oregon who works with people with cancer. "Healthcare professionals and public health policy makers might be able to help people avoid this deadly cancer by encouraging them to include more whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat, and teaching them to use less well-known grains such as barley, quinoa, and millet."


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