Risk of BPH may decrease with low-fat diet

February 28, 2008

A diet low in fat and red meat but high in vegetables and lean protein may significantly decrease the risk of symptomatic BPH, according to researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

A diet low in fat and red meat but high in vegetables and lean protein may significantly decrease the risk of symptomatic BPH, according to researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

In a study examining dietary risk factors for BPH in nearly 5,000 Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial placebo-arm participants, the research team found that a high-fat diet increased the risk of BPH by 31%, and daily consumption of red meat increased the risk by 38%. However, consumption of four or more servings of vegetables daily reduced risk by 32%, high amounts of lean protein lowered risk by 15%, and regular, moderate alcohol consumption (no more than two drinks a day) was associated with a 38% decline in BPH risk.

“It is known that obesity increases the risk of BPH. The dietary pattern that is associated with obesity among men in the United States is high fat consumption,” said lead author Alan Kristal, PhD. “The results of this study clearly show a link between a high-fat diet and increased risk of BPH.”

The study, published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found small, incremental increases in BPH risk as fat intake increased, with the most substantial risk-more than 30%-among men in whom 40% of their calories came from fat.

High fat intake increases the body’s overall inflammatory response and increases levels of circulating estrogens and androgens, which may affect prostate tissue. In contrast, a diet low in fat, high in vegetable consumption, and with moderate alcohol intake is associated with less obesity, lower circulating hormones, and less stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.