A low-carbohydrate diet may help stem the growth of prostate tumours, a new study says. The study, by researchers at the Duke University Medical Centre, suggests that a cut in insulin production caused by fewer carbohydrates may be the reason.
Findings of the study conducted on mice have been published in the online edition of the journal Prostate.
"If this is ultimately confirmed in human clinical trials, it has huge implications for prostate cancer therapy through something that all of us can control our diets," said lead researcher Stephen Freedland.
Since serum insulin had been linked to prostate tumours, the researchers felt a reduction in its levels might slow tumour growth.
The team compared tumour growth in 75 mice that were eating either a low-carbohydrate diet, a low-fat but high-carbohydrate diet, or a Western diet, high in fat and carbohydrates.
The mice that ate a low-carbohydrate diet had the longest survival and smallest tumour size, Freedland said.
"Low-fat mice had shorter survival and larger tumours while mice on the Western diet had the worst survival and biggest tumours."
The low-carbohydrate diet definitely had the most significant effect on tumour growth and survival, he said. The next step will be to test the findings of this study in humans.