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NutriDesk Diets

Breast Health Diet

Knowledge Matters

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Suitable for:  Any woman concerned about developing breast  cancer or who has been treated for breast cancer in the past. Women that have lumpy breasts [Fibrocystic Breast Disease or Benign Mammary Dysplasia], painful breasts or those with dense glandular breasts on a mammogram may benefit from these dietary guidelines. Genetic screening may also show risk factors towards developing breast cancer and this diet may also be of help in this regard.

The Breast Health Diet diet may also be suitable for individuals who have undergone genetic screening and found that they had an inducible Single Nucleotide Polymorphism [SNP] such as the CYP1A1 enzyme. This diet has been designed to look at the various factors including but not limited to, hyperinsulinaemia, IGF-1 levels, Persistent Organic Pollutants [POPs]; dietary measures to shift estrogen metabolism towards weaker metabolites, glycemic index, glycemic loads, omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, the consumption of protective lignans and many other nutritional strategies discussed below. Discuss this diet with your genetic screening advisor, your general practitioner or your specialist.

NutriDesk has been the culmination of 26 years of medical experience and post-graduate study and has taken 5 years to design with an additional 2 years of website development to work out how to incorporate all of these complex nutritional concepts and benefits
into one easy to follow diet!

About NutriDesk


The diets are very easy to follow --- too easy!

  • If you can follow a recipe, then you will be able to follow a NutriDesk diet.
  • Don't be concerned about the depth of knowledge provided here for you. The information is there for you to see the science behind the diet.
  • You can rest assured that the concepts that have been described are embedded in the diets themselves. So you don't need to understand what is being presented, you can simply follow the diets like one would follow a recipe.

A big thumbs-up for ease of use.

  • The aim of these diets is to provide an in-depth analysis of the nutritional factors thought to prevent or alter the course of a disease. NutriDesk confronts the complexities involved and takes great effort to provide a clear and concise picture of knowledge as it currently stands.
  • This knowledge is expanded upon by rich graphical representations and by multimedia tutorials that are aesthetically pleasing but also carry scientific depth. These features are used to help a lay individual navigate through the knowledge base in a highly visual and easy-to-understand way making the learning experience that much more pleasant.
  • Remember, you can save the diet you have chosen and you also have 24 hours to change your body composition data in BodyCalculator if you feel you have made a mistake.
  • You can then take your time to go back and again to this saved diet within the MyNutriDesk panel. Simply go to My Diets within this personal panel and here you can view the details of your diet at your leisure.

The Info button on the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel

  • Further information can be found within the purchased diet by clicking the buttons of the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel above.
  • You can find all the information presented on this page by clicking the 'Info' tab within the diet. This information may or may not be expanded upon.
  • Each diet you choose is rich with specific information about your particular dietary or medical concern.
  • To make it easy for you, a wealth of highly specific information has been placed into special compartments and accessed by clicking the buttons on the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel found on the top of each purchased diet.

What you should know:

  • Always discuss your dietary choice with your doctor before paying for and proceeding with any diet.
  • At the bottom of this text box you will see 'Information for General Practitioners'. Your GP can view this information to see if there are any problems for you as an individual especially if you have a medical condition, are taking certain medications or if you have a genetic predisposition to a particular problem.
  • The 'info' tab within the diet of your choice will have expanded explanations to the points and  questions raised below.
  • The main reference database is also located in the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel under 'References' which can be viewed once you purchase the diet of your choice.
  • NutriDesk uses highly reputable sources of information for this website. However, the onus is on you to research and seek medical counsel to see if any information or recommendation found within this diet or on this website is appropriate to your unique personal needs.
  • Please view 'Our Philosophy' and the 'Terms of Use' of this website before proceeding.
  • The 'My Research' portal is your gateway to wonderful resources to begin your personal research. It is your right to question anything being presented to you and this is encouraged. My Research is a great tool to begin this journey of nutritional discovery.
  • The GP Resources area will provide your general practitioner with not only the resources you have access to, but also resources aimed more at a professional level. This will enable your GP to do some research on your behalf if presented with personal queries triggered by this website.

Simply go to the ‘Info’ button within the diet Here you will find referenced answers to these questions. 

Can diet decrease your risk of breast cancer? An article in the British Medical Journal [BMJ] in 1998 stated that, "Diet is one of the most important lifestyle factors and has been estimated to account for up to 80% of cancers of the large bowel, breast, and prostate." (Cummings and Bingham 1998)

Overweight/Obesity are definite risk factors for breast cancer --- this diet will help you manage your weight.  

Weight gain: Especially Abdominal Fat [expanding waist]

  • Estrogen is a known risk factor for breast cancer. Commencing periods early in life and having babies late in life means that the breasts are exposed to estrogen for longer periods and there seems to be a link there.
  • Having abdominal fat does not help as this fat has an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen and this can make diminishing testosterone levels as you age and hit the menopause even worse and increase your risk for breast cancer by creating more estrogen. Abdominal fat increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  • It is critical to lose this weight
  • There are many dietary factors for putting on weight and NutriDesk has a multi-targeted approach to this problem providing you with the concepts and strategies to beat this aging problem.

A great strength of the NutriDesk diet is to be able to calculate food quantities [portions] automatically for you and to guide you to food choices and strategies that keep the glycemic index [GI] and glycemic load [GL] of each meal low and scientifically proven thermogenic [fat burning] foods that will help you with weight management.

Low Testosterone Level

  • About 76% of all breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50 years []. Weight gain in the abdominal area as you age, may be the result of low testosterone in both men and women. Discuss commencing testosterone with your general practitioner as body composition will change towards less fat in the body and more lean muscle mass. The medical view towards the use of testosterone in men and women experiencing symptoms and/or signs of testosterone deficiency is now changing dramatically as this hormone is not only important to fight fat accumulation but is also critical for bone health and cardiovascular health.

    An optimal nutritional foundation is also critical. Dietary change is vital to success and NutriDesk is there to provide you with sound dietary advice.
  • If testosterone treatment is being considered around menopause for decreased libido or other reasons, then this central weight may work against this treatment due to the aromatase enzyme mechanism for converting testosterone to estrogen. It would be advisable to lose your weight using the NutriDesk dietary guidelines and then to commence this important hormone if this is appropriate for you. 


  • Can increase the number of estrogen receptors in the breast which in turn increases the risk of breast cancer. This diet looks at the dietary factors that can lead to elevated levels of insulin and how to modify this very avoidable risk. Common carbohydrates their quality and quantity can have a significant impact on high insulin levels [hyperinsulinaemia] after eating and even long-term insulin resistance and persistently elevated insulin levels putting you at risk for developing breast cancer [and other cancers].  
  • Many studies have shown compelling evidence between insulin resistance, hyperinsulinaemia [high insulin levels] and breast cancer. [Bruning et al, Del Giudice et al, Goodwin et al]
  • The NutriDesk diet has a strong focus on dietary carbohydrates [quality and quantity], to ensure insulin responses stays as low as possible after each meal and the use of dietary/nutraceutical strategies that can be used to decrease the glycemic index of any meal you have thus reducing the insulin response to that particular meal.

Glycemic Index [GI] and Glycemic Load [GL]
May be factors in someone becoming overweight or developing high insulin levels after eating. This diet keeps carbohydrate load to a calculated level for you and guides you towards carbohydrate [carb] choices that are healthy.  

Aging. We can’t reverse or avoid getting older but we can try to minimize the effects of aging on gene mutations by ensuring our DNA methylation is not impaired and that Vitamin D levels are optimal as Vit D regulates the critical processes of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis [cell death]. Which foods are rich in Vit D? Is supplementation worthwhile? What type of Vit D should you take and how much is safe?  

Minimizing pesticide exposure --- find out which foods concentrate pesticides that can act like estrogen thus increasing risk.  

Alcohol a problem? 

Estrogen Metabolism.
There are numerous estrogen breakdown products. 2-hydroxyestrone [2-OHE] is cancer protective while 16-alpha hydroxyestrone [16α-OHE] is a dangerous oestrogen metabolite. This diet can shed some light on what these compounds are, how they are metabolized and how certain bowel organism can undo the wonderful work of the liver in neutralizing dangerous estrogen compounds.  

Can vegetables provide protection against breast cancer? 
Certain vegetables have very high levels of compounds which have high anti-cancer activity. A huge number of scientific studies have looked at the benefits of these compounds with regard to the prevention of cancer. Epidemiological [population] studies have found that the risk of breast cancer can be cut by 50% simply by incorporating larger intakes of these special foods! Which special foods can result in a favourable oestrogen metabolite profile and significantly decrease your risk of breast cancer? Can supplements help?  

Lignans have been found to be protective of many glandular cancers and can also alter estrogen metabolism favourably --- what are lignans? Which foods are high in lignans? How do they work to protect the breast against dangerous estrogens? 

Beta-Glucuronidase. A bacterial enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can undo the good work of the liver. What is this enzyme? How does it increase the risk of breast cancer? Can you take something to block the action of this enzyme?  

Tumeric [curcumin/curcuminoids], is showing tremendous potential in many disease states. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-microbial, cancer-fighting and immune-enhancing effects. So how can you take advantage of these properties to protect the breasts when turmeric is notoriously difficult to absorb? What common supermarket spice can increase curcumin’s absorption significantly? Is there a worthwhile supplement?  

The Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio is an extremely important factor in many disease states. Many cancers have an inflammatory process that drives them and many inflammatory by-products of an abnormal Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio can fuel certain cancers. How can we improve this important ratio to a favourable one? Fish intake is important but which ones are safe? Which supplements are the best? What are short-chain and long-chain Omega-3’s? Do you need both?  

The vegetarian dilemma. Many individuals with a history of cancer of any kind opt to have a vegetarian style diet which includes large amounts of grains of various kinds and legumes to balance their amino acid intake. However, huge studies have shown no benefit in terms of cancer risk in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. The American Cancer Society has this to say about vegetarian diets, "Vegetarian diets include many healthful features. They tend to be low in saturated fats and high in fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals. It is not possible to conclude at this time, however, that a vegetarian diet has any special benefits for the prevention of cancer." The highly influential Professor Loren Cordain in his book 'The Paleo Diet' made the following statement about vegetarian diets and cancer risk:  "In the largest-ever study comparing the causes of death in more than 76,000 people, it was decisively shown thaht there were no differences in death rates from breast, prostate, colorectal, stomach or lung cancer between vegetarians and meat eaters." The reference can be found under the 'Info' and 'References' tab of the purchased diet.

Don't be confused by the statement above. The distinction between consuming large quantities of non-starchy, low glycemic index and multicoloured vegetables is indisputed as a health providing dietary option. The statement above is about starchy grains and legumes often eaten in large quantities [hence consuming high glycemic loads - high GLs] by vegetarians to provide not only their energy intake but also the essential amino acids and protein they need to survive.

IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 ---how are these factors related to diet? How do vegetarian diets increase IGF-1 and influence cancer risk? How is insulin related to IGF-1 and how do these factors increase your risk of breast cancer, and increase the risk of many other cancers such as prostate cancer in men and bowel cancer in everyone?

Acidic and Alkaline Foods - Fad or Fact?. Women in the particular age group who are at the greatest risk of breast cancer, are also in the same age group for osteoporosis risk. Study after study have shown, counter-intuitively, that there is no correlation between high calcium intakes and increased bone density. Large studies such as the Nurses Health Study have shown increased fractures with higher intakes of dairy and epidemiological studies of various populations such as the Eskimos and Northern Europeans have shown these populations have high intakes of calcium and yet have high rates of osteoporosis and bone fractures. So simplistic associations don’t help. Having an optimal intake of protein to provide the structural framework of bone is also important and what may be even more important is the Acid – Alkali balance of the foods that are consumed. Rosemary Stanton in her book ‘Complete Book of Food and Nutrition’ states “there is some evidence that foods that leave an alkaline residue may contribute to better bone strength than a diet high in foods that tend to have an acidic residue.” The foods that are alkaline and those that are acidic will be discussed within each diet choice and this is aimed at preserving bone loss.  

Optimum nutrition with any diet chosen:

All NutriDesk diets are based on cutting-edge nutritional principles for optimum health. So how do the diets differ? Recommendations of the various nutritional components are based on clinical trials, laboratory research or epidemiological studies that show an advantage for a particular diet, food, functional food or nutraceutical that can be used for the purpose of disease modification or to provide a preventative advantage in a particular disease state or risk-of-disease setting. 

The cause of breast cancer like many cancers is the final outcome of an accumulation of genetic mutations that occur in an individual’s lifetime and which regulate cellular proliferation. These mutations interact with multiple environmental, dietary and hereditary [genetic] factors to create the particular cancer.

It is thought that only 5 percent of all breast cancers are attributable to hereditary factors. Thus aging, dietary, hormonal, environmental and importantly lifestyle factors are of paramount importance in the development of breast cancer. How long your breasts have been exposed to your own oestrogen is a risk factor made worse by many chemical contaminants that can mimic the action of oestrogen [the xenoestrogens]. Many factors may be beyond your control. You do however have the power to control your own diet.

By diet I simply mean the day-to-day consumption of food and not a particular food regimen. 

This diet aims to minimize the risks of breast cancer by implementing scientifically sound guidelines that have been obtained over decades of study.

Information for General Practitioners

  • This diet is rich in plant foods and thus high in vitamin K. Vitamin K is found mainly in dark green leafy vegetables and parsley is a rich source of vitamin K. Thus Warfarin [Coumadin] is not contraindicated however, if a patient commences this diet, the INR will need to be monitored regularly until it has stabilised. Plant foods are highly beneficial and often these foods are restricted in those taking warfarin to the detriment of the individual’s health. The INR’s simply need to be adjusted to the patient’s daily intake. The patient needs to understand if they are on warfarin that plant food consumption should be consistent day-by-day and that they should not vary this intake dramatically while on Warfarin. Any significant variation in intake of plant foods will require close INR monitoring once again.


Dense Breasts on Mammograms

- GPs often see comments on mammograms such as 'dense breasts' or 'dense glandular architecture' or similar wording.

- What the radiologist is referring to is a mammogram that is diffusely white reflecting dense glandular tissue within the breasts. If 50% or more of of the mammogram is dense [white] then the woman is at risk of breast cancer. In this setting the NutriDesk Breast Health Diet would be an appropriate choice.

The mammographic density is attributable to estrogenic activity on glandular breast tissue and long-term estrogenic stimulation [early menarche, nulliparous women]. Estrogenic stimulation of breast tissue and how long this has occurred is an indisputable risk factor for breast cancer. Manipulating the estrogens of the individual is a possibility and has scientific backing. Nutritional approaches are discussed where the strong estrogens and estrogen metabolites are shifted to the weaker forms. These are discussed within the NutriDesk Breast Health Diet.

- An article in the New England Journal of Medicine [NEJM] stated "Extensive mammographic density is strongly
associated with the risk of breast cancer detected by screening or between screening tests. A substantial fraction of breast cancers can be attributed to this risk factor." 

[Boyd, N., H. Guo, et al. (2007). "Mammographic Density and the Risk and Detection of Breast Cancer." New England Journal of Medicine 356(3): 227.]

  • This diet is a rich and healthy source of beneficial potassium and if the individual is on an ACE inhibitor or potassium sparing diuretic or other potassium sparing medication, the blood potassium should be monitored closely as well.
  • A high dietary intake of potassium is desirable from a health perspective for a variety of reasons and blood pressure may respond favourably to a high potassium diet. Please monitor the individual’s blood pressure regularly while on the diet. Adjustments in the dose of medication/s may be necessary or perhaps even ceased for reasons of weight loss or the beneficial effects of an optimal diet.
  • If the individual has gout, then specific high-purine foods advised within the diet will need to be avoided. Some foods may contain high sodium levels such as the fermented soy drink called Miso soup. Individuals with hypertension will need to limit consumption of this food.
  • Many grains have moderate to high oxalate levels and those individuals with calcium-oxalate stones may need to restrict consumption of such foods. White rice does not have significant oxalate levels whereas brown rice does.
  • Advise the patient to avoid any known dietary triggers
  • Encourage the patient to exercise regularly.

The following should be considered for ongoing encouragement and assessment of progress on a regular basis:

  • Weight; Waist Circumference Measurement; Blood Pressure Check with other assessments as considered appropriate for the individual
  • Women with dense breasts on mammography or with a history of benign mammary dysplasia are at a higher risk of breast cancer. Monitoring with appropriate imaging at acceptable intervals is always worthwhile. This diet aims to address the hormonal factors that are associated with breast cancer risk.
  • The ‘GP Resource’ tab at NutriDesk is a General Practitioner only resource area. It will provide you with links and tools to assess any dietary or nutraceutical recommendations further. Please take the time to register. This is a quick process and worthwhile.
  • There are highly informative and visually appealing free tutorials on a variety of topics with regard to nutrition, nutritional genomics and nutritional biochemistry at NutriDesk. Simply go to the home page and click on the ‘Free Tutorials’ tab and choose a topic of interest.

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