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Two day diet could reduce breast cancer risk

Women can lower their risk of breast cancer by 40 per cent by following a two day ‘life saver diet’ it has been claimed.Two day diet could reduce breast cancer riskResearchers at the University Hospital in South Manchester are claiming that observing a strict two day diet, rather than trying to constantly cut calories, is a more effective way to loose weight.

The study, lead by Dr Michelle Harvie, and presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, found that women who followed a diet for just two days of the week lost more weight than those practising a full time diet.

The researchers put 100 overweight female volunteers on one of three diets.

The first diet consisted of consuming just 650 calories a day for several days of the week, with carbohydrates such as potatoes and bread cut out. For the remaining five days of the week the participants, whilst encouraged to eat healthily, could consumer whatever they liked.

Although volunteers on the second diet were also banned from eating carbohydrates for two days in a week, they were not set a specific calorie limit.

They were also allowed to eat as much as they wanted for the remainder of the week. The third and final group followed a more conventional diet, which included avoiding high-fat foods, alcohol and sticking to approximately 1,500 calories every day.

The results of the study showed that after three months the women on the two day diets had lost an average of nine pounds, compared to five pounds of those on the full time diet.

Volunteers who had followed the two day diet had lost nearly twice the amount of weight of those on the more traditional full time diet, and recorded significant improvements in three key areas linked to breast cancer. Their levels of hormone leptin dropped by 40 per cent.

Research professor Gillian Haddock, who also took part in the study herself, has said she would recommend the diet to friends and that she found it an easier diet option.

Mrs Haddock said: “I used to follow the 650 calorie diet on a Monday and Tuesday and it was great because I knew that by Wednesday I would be eating normally.

“It really suited me, I did it on my busiest work days and I would mainly have the milky drinks while I was at work so I didn’t have to worry about shopping or taking in a specially prepared packed lunch.”

The research, conducted at the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre at UHSM, was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Pamela Goldberg, chief executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign said: “There are many breast cancer risk factors that can’t be controlled, such as age, gender and family history – but staying at a healthy weight is one positive step that can be taken.

“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.”

The diet that the women followed for only two days a week:

  • Breakfast: Fruit tea and a banana, or mug of milky coffee.
  • Mid-morning: Can of diet cola, or cup of tea and plum.
  • Lunch: Carrot and coriander soup and half pint of milk, or salad, glass of squash and half pint of milk.
  • Mid afternoon: Glass of squash, or glass of sparkling water and Satsuma.
  • Dinner: Soy sauce and ginger stir-fry with two vegetables and glass of water, or vegetable curry with two vegetables, half pint of milk and cup of tea.
  • Supper: Pint of milk, or hot milk with cinnamon and sweeteners.