Two Days of Dieting Each Week Reduces Breast Cancer Risk


Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows how difficult a diet can be. Now a new study reveals that overweight women who followed a strict diet for just two days a week significantly reduced their risk of breast cancer along with losing weight.

A strict two-day diet can reduce breast cancer risk

Despite spending an estimated $60 billion-plus on weight loss and dieting products and programs per year in the United States, about 95 percent of people who lose weight while on a diet regain the pounds within three years. Along with this discouraging failure rate is the fact that many people find it very difficult to stay on a diet.

At the Wythenshawe Hospital, Dr. Michelle Harvie and her team of researchers enrolled 100 overweight women and assigned them to one of two groups. One group followed a 650-calorie-a-day diet for two days a week and a normal eating pattern for the remaining five days. The other group followed a 1,500-calorie-a-day Mediterranean diet for seven days a week.


At the end of the six-month study period, the levels of three factors linked to breast cancer showed a significant reduction: the hormone leptin was down 40 percent, insulin levels were reduced 25 percent, and levels of inflammatory protein were down 15 percent. These results were similar in both groups of women. The women also lost an average of 13 pounds over the six months.

According to Pamela Goldberg, chief executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign, “this intermittent dieting approach provides an alternative to conventional dieting which could help with weight loss, but also potentially reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.” Up to a third of breast cancer cases could be avoided if women ate less and exercised more, according to experts at a recent breast cancer conference in Barcelona.

For women who find it difficult to stay on a low-calorie diet for an entire week, this two-day strict diet approach could be a viable option. That was also the opinion of Gillian Haddock, a research professor who took part in the study. She noted in a Telegraph article that “I felt it was a really good study to be part of, and could provide women with some new options to improve their health.”

For overweight women, following a two-day strict diet may not only help them lose weight, but it can also significantly reduce their risk of breast cancer. This sounds like a lose-lose situation that’s a winner.

UK Telegraph, Oct. 6, 2010