We don’t know from the study at hand.
This pilot and feasibility study involved only 11 patients that completed the study. The main finding was a loss of about a pound of fat weight weekly. Hey abstract writer, how about telling us how long the study lasted? Anyway, breast cancer patients primarily want to know what a particular management approach will do for their cure rate and quality of life.
Evolutionary principles are rarely considered in clinical oncology. We here aimed to test the feasibility and effects of a dietary and physical activity intervention based on evolutionary considerations in an oncological setting. A total of 13 breast cancer patients referred to our clinic for curative radiotherapy were recruited for this pilot study. The women were supposed to undertake a “Paleolithic lifestyle” (PL) intervention consisting of a Paleolithic diet and daily outdoor activity of at least 30 min duration while undergoing radiotherapy. Body composition was measured weekly by bioimpedance analysis. Blood parameters were assessed before, during, and at the end of radiotherapy. A control group on an unspecified standard diet (SD) was assigned by propensity score matching. A total of eleven patients completed the study. The majority of patients (64%) reported feeling good or very good during the intervention. The intervention group experienced an average decrease of 0.4 kg body weight (p < 0.001) and 0.34 kg (p < 0.001) fat mass per week, but fat-free and skeletal muscle mass were not significantly affected. Vitamin D levels increased slightly from 23.8 (11-37.3) ng/ml to 25.1 (22.6-41.6) ng/ml (p = 0.053). β-hydroxybutyrate levels were significantly increased and triglycerides and free T3 hormone levels significantly reduced by the PL intervention. This pilot study shows that adoption of a PL intervention during curative radiotherapy of breast cancer patients is feasible and able to reduce fat mass. Daily outdoor activity could eliminate vitamin D deficiency (vitamin D < 20 ng/ml). Future studies are needed to confirm these findings.
We don’t know if the paleo diet prevents breast cancer. But I know one diet that does: the traditional Mediterranean diet.
Steve Parker, M.D.