Sperling Prostate Center

Get Off the Western Diet NOW!

UPDATE: 5/29/2024
Originally published 6/4/2017

This is one of our more interesting updates. For years we’ve been urging our readers to say goodbye to fast food, processed food, red meat, etc. in favor of anti-inflammatory diets like the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet). It’s generally described as plant-based with smaller quantities of fish, eggs and fermented dairy, plus low intake of red and processed meats, butter and ultra-processed foods. It has been championed by nutritional experts around the world for its positive impact on cardiovascular health and overall wellness including possible cancer-preventive effects. A 2024 study now suggests the MedDiet is also good for emotional health. In analyzing 294 participants’ questionnaires on diet and mental health, Australian researchers found an inverse association between adherence to the MedDiet and symptoms of anxiety and stress.[i] The term “inverse” means when one factor increases, the other decreases. In other words, participants whose diet more closely adhered to the MedDiet reported fewer anxiety and stress symptoms. However, no association was found with depression. So, if you want good physical health— including your prostate—with the added bonus of less anxiety and stress, get off the Western diet ASAP.


Everyone knows that on average, U.S. citizens live in the most privileged country on the globe, yet eat the worst possible diet. Right? According to the Medical Dictionary, the Western diet is “A diet with inadequate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and low-fat dairy products and excessive amounts of refined and processed foods, alcohol, salt, red meats, sugary beverages, snacks, eggs and butter. The Western diet, which is low in potassium, high in sodium, fats, and simple carbohydrates, has been implicated in many diseases… “[ii] There are other names for this poor way of eating, including The Standard American Diet, and the meat-sweet diet.

To be fair, the U.S. is no longer the only country guilty of such widespread lack of healthy eating. As nations become more Westernized, empty carbs, processed foods, fast foods and lots of fats are cropping up all over the planet. I remember some years ago coming across a news item about a Krispy Kremes donut shop that had opened sometime back at Heathrow Airport outside of London. Apparently, the donuts were a big hit with Londoners who actually made the trip to the airport to get those treats—and who found they were adding inches to their waist and hips!

Among the illnesses linked with the Western diet are

  • Heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • High “bad” cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolaemia)
  • Type II diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Colorectal cancer

Now it seems prostate cancer must be added to the list.  A team of Italian researchers thoroughly reviewed published studies on the relationship between dietary factors and prostate cancer risk.[iii] Using the 12 studies that met their inclusion criteria, they were able to analyze and compare the PCa correlation between healthy diets (higher levels of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, poultry and fish[iv]) and the Western diet. They found that while there was no association between healthy eating and PCa risk, the Western style of eating increased it significantly. For diets especially high in simple carbohydrates, the risk was even greater.

The moral of the story is clear: Protecting your prostate gland is reinforced by increasing the amount of vegetables, fruits, lean white meat, whole grains and other healthy foods such as nuts and seeds. At the same time, cut back on empty carbs, unhealthy fats, sugar, red meats and refined/processed foods. And there’s a bonus: you will promote the wellbeing of your cardiovascular system and all other organs. Start now to invest in a long, and healthy life – hopefully free of prostate cancer as well.

NOTE: This content is solely for purposes of information and does not substitute for diagnostic or medical advice. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing pelvic pain, or have any other health concerns or questions of a personal medical nature.

[i] Allcock L, Mantzioris E, Villani A. Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet Is Inversely Associated with Anxiety and Stress but Not Depression: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Community-Dwelling Older Australians. Nutrients. 2024 Jan 26;16(3):366. doi: 10.3390/nu16030366.
[ii] http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Western+diet
[iii] Fabiani R, Minelli L, Bertarelli G, Bacci S. A Western Dietary Pattern Increases Prostate Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2016 Oct 12;8(10). pii: E626.
[iv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_pattern_diet


About Dr. Dan Sperling

Dan Sperling, MD, DABR, is a board certified radiologist who is globally recognized as a leader in multiparametric MRI for the detection and diagnosis of a range of disease conditions. As Medical Director of the Sperling Prostate Center, Sperling Medical Group and Sperling Neurosurgery Associates, he and his team are on the leading edge of significant change in medical practice. He is the co-author of the new patient book Redefining Prostate Cancer, and is a contributing author on over 25 published studies. For more information, contact the Sperling Prostate Center.

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