Rats fed junk food pass down cancer risk through multiple generations of offspring

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: cancer, epigenetics, health news

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(NaturalNews) A recent study out of Georgetown University Medical Center has concluded that what you eat can affect your children's and grandchildren's health, even if they eat healthy themselves. Sonia de Assis and her colleagues observed that rats fed fatty, unhealthy food pass on an increased cancer risk to their children and grandchildren.

The study, which was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C., illustrates that a fatty diet can actually contribute to "epigenetic" DNA modifications, which are inherited changes in DNA patterns. Essentially, one's offspring can inherit DNA changes caused by their parents' unhealthy diets and other environmental factors.

The findings also seem to explain why diseases like breast cancer are more likely to manifest in certain family lines and not in others. If epigenetic DNA changes are altering genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2, then this would explain why some people are more prone than others to develop certain degenerative diseases.

"We think that there may be other means of transmission that are not genetic that can account for breast cancer," explained de Assis in response to the study's findings.

And Assis' perspective is warranted based on her findings.

According to, only about 20-30 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have any family history of breast cancer. This means that the other 70-80 percent must be developing it for reasons other than simply genetics.

If a person's parents or grandparents ate a diet rich in processed, chemical-laden foods throughout their lives, then the DNA changes that likely occurred in their bodies may be passed down to their children. Even if they themselves didn't develop cancer, the children will be more likely to develop it, based on the findings of the study.

And if the children also eat junk food diets that lack proper nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and other necessary life components, then their children will be even more prone than they were to develop degenerative diseases like cancer.

But your personal diet and lifestyle choices are still the primary deciding factors for whether or not you develop a degenerative disease. Even if your parents and grandparents ate unhealthy diets all their lives does not mean that you have to get sick. Eating a strong, healthy diet and regularly exercising will do wonders for your health.

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