A recent study conducted at Baylor University shows that reducing dietary fat may stop the development of precancerous skin lesions. (NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, May 5, 1994.)

76 people who had either basal cell or squamous-cell skin cancer were randomly assigned to follow their customary diets or reduce dietary fat to 20% of calories. Both groups kept detailed records of what they ate and had skin exams every four months for two years.

The group on their customary diets (which averaged 40% of calories from fat) had an average of 10 new scaly lesions (actinic keratoses) and .54 new skin cancers per person. Those on the low fat diet had an average of only three new keratoses and .38 new skin cancers. The results need to be duplicated in larger studies, but the findings support earlier findings in animals and provides another reason to cut down on fat.

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