The Western Diet or "Western Diet" has been linked to the body's inflammatory state, a state that leads to multiple diseases.
During the last few years there has been more and more talk about the Western Diet, better known in the field of science as the Western Diet (in its English translation). This "diet" is nothing more than the set of poor nutrition that is carried out by most individuals in Western or industrialized countries: ultra-processed foods, with large amounts of additives, excess salt, processed red meat and large excesses of refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats (especially trans fats).
The reality is that, as we have already warned on other occasions, there is no macronutrient or worse. The problem is not eating carbohydrates, or eating fat, or eating protein. The problem, in itself, is globally the poor lifestyle that is led today, the excesses and the poor quality of food are the problem. The Western Diet is the basic pillar of this bad lifestyle, where the excesses of carbohydrates and processed fats stand out, where obesity is rampant and, although it sounds paradoxical, a large part of individuals live in a state of overweight-obesity malnourished. Since, although in principle it sounds illogical because excesses and malnutrition sound contrary, the reality is that excess body fat is usually accompanied by a lack of basic nutrients for life (highlighting in our environment the deficit of vitamins B, vitamin D and calcium, among others).
Today we will review some of the risks involved in this Western Diet thanks to the publication of up to four different studies during this same month. And, interestingly, directly or indirectly, they all point to the Western Diet as the cause of health problems.
Too much salt and dementia risk on the Western Diet
Previously, we already knew that salt has a close relationship with hypertension, and in fact low-salt diets are the first current medical recommendation in such a state (although some specific studies have denied the relationship).
Now, a study published in Nature Neuroscience, carried out in mice, would have shown a greater risk association with excess salt. A very common excess in the Western Diet, due to the high consumption of ultra-processed foods: diets rich in salt can increase the risk of dementia.
This is what researchers from the Weill Cornell School of Medicine affirm after verifying how, after feeding a group of mice with a diet rich in salt for several weeks, their cerebral blood flow decreased and these rodents began to deteriorate in their behavioral tests in comparison to mice not fed such excess salt.
It should be noted, however, that we do not know for sure whether these results would also be repeated in humans. Likewise, the researchers highlight the fact that the excess salt consumed by the mice was grotesque, consuming between eight and sixteen times the recommended amounts of salt in a healthy diet (currently in the Western Diet, between 9 and 12 grams are consumed of salt, double the recommended amount).
The inflammatory state of the Western Diet
In a study recently published in the journal Cell, the authors pointed directly and concisely to the Western Diet, blaming it for the "inflammatory state" to which the human body is subjected when this type of diet is carried out.
According to the authors, the Western Diet would trigger a cascade of immune reactions, specifically the innate immune system, which reacts in response to microorganisms in a generalized way. It is a type of immune system that any individual possesses from birth and that acts in a non-specific way against external threats. In other words, the Western Diet would create a state of "threat" for the body, similar to an infection, against which the immune defense system would react.
Likewise, if a long-term Western Diet is consumed, researchers have found that there is also a response from the acquired or specific immunity system. There would be a type of cells, myeloid cells, that would train to respond to this long-term inflammatory state as if it were a bacterium.
On the other hand, there is room for good news: the study was carried out in mice, which returned to their basal state (without inflammation) after returning to their usual diet.
Western diet, inflammation and colon cancer
On the other hand, another recent study published in the journal JAMA Oncology has linked the “inflammatory diet” with an increased risk of colon cancer, the most common cancer time in men in Spain, and the second most common in women of our country according to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology.
According to the researchers of this recent work, men and women who carry out a diet rich in foods capable of increasing levels of body inflammation (ultra-processed, such as refined carbohydrates or processed red meat) would be more likely to develop colon and rectal cancer in comparison to those individuals who carry out another type of diet. Specifically, the risk would increase up to 44% in men and 22% in women over the more than 20 years that the volunteers were followed, data taken from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study, with a total of more than 121,000 men and women between 30 and 75 years of age followed for 25 years.
According to the researchers, among the "pro-inflammatory foods" would be processed meats, refined grains, and high-calorie beverages such as sugary drinks, among others. On the other hand, among the "anti-inflammatory foods" would be tea, coffee, yellow-orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes) and green leafy vegetables.
The risk of metastasis in prostate cancer on the Western Diet
Finally, we have another work recently published in the journal Nature Genetics, in this case focused on discovering why metastases or tumor dissemination to other organs occur in prostate cancer. And precisely in prostate cancer there is little knowledge about what factors increase the risk of spread.
In this work, researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Medical Center (BIDMC) found that the absence of two genes (PTEN and PML) would increase the risk of metastasis. But this would not be enough, since prostate tumors that did metastasize are accompanied by the production of a high amount of lipids or fat. There would be a kind of "fat production switch".
After making this finding, the researchers tested their hypotheses with mice with prostate cancer (a type of tumor that, precisely in mice, is not usually aggressive or metastasize). After feeding the rodents with a Western Diet, imitating the high levels of fats of this type of diet, an aggressive progression of their tumors took place, leading to metastasis.
Again, we do not know if this effect would also occur in humans, although the lack of the PTEN and PML genes has been linked to metastasis in prostate cancer, and there is a high probability that a Western Diet also contributes to the progression and aggressiveness of this type of tumor, as we have already commented in the case of colon cancer.
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