A new study suggests that women who regularly ate French fries as young children have a significantly higher risk of breast cancer. Researcher Karin Michels says, “This study provides additional evidence that breast cancer may originate during the early phases of a woman’s life and that eating habits during that phase may be particularly important to reduce future risk of breast cancer.”

Researchers analyzed the data of 582 women who had breast cancer in 1993 along with 1,569 women who then were free of the disease, to explore a possible relationship to preschool-age diet. The researchers obtained dietary information from the women’s mothers, who completed a questionnaire about their daughters’ eating habits from three to five years of age. The mothers indicated how often their daughters ate or drank an average serving of 30 food items.

Michels found that for each additional serving of French fries per week when they were preschoolers, women had a 27% percent increased risk of breast cancer later in life. They think this might be because the preparation of French fries involves frying oil high in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. The study also found that daily consumption of whole milk was associated with a modest decrease in risk of breast cancer.

Michels cautions that, “These data have to be interpreted cautiously since the observed association between consumption of french fries and breast cancer is dependent on the validity of the maternal recall of the diet. Mothers were asked to recall their daughter?s preschool diet after the participants’ breast-cancer status was known, and it is possible that mothers of women with breast cancer recalled their daughter’s diet differently than mothers of healthy women. Other foods perceived as less healthy, such as hot dogs or ice cream, however, were not associated with breast-cancer risk.”

The lesson here is to start your kids out with a low-fat diet?especially your daughters?don’t wait until they need the ultimate diet.

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