Substances called heterocyclic amines (HAs) found in cooked meat and fish don’t appear to boost a woman’s risk of developing beast cancer (breast cancer types) after menopause, Swedish researchers report.

However, low intake of these substances combined with high consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are found in most types of vegetable oil, may indeed increase the likelihood that post menopausal women will develop breast cancer, Dr. Emily Sonestedt, of Lund University, Malmo, and her colleagues found.

“The interaction in the present study between omega-6 PUFAs and HAs is not easily explained, and points toward the importance of examining the impact of food patterns rather than the influence of single dietary factors,” Sonestedt and her team stated.

HAs form in meat or fish cooked at high temperatures, and have been tied to breast cancer in rats.

Rats fed a fatty diet having a high omega-6 content developed even more tumors in response to dietary HAs than rats given a low fat diet.

Sonestedt’s team examined whether HA consumption was related to breast cancer, and whether omega-6 PUFA intake played a role in this relationship, in women enrolled in the Malmo Diet and Cancer study.

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