Can eating too much fat cause cancer?

There is not enough evidence to show eating too much fat will increase your risk of cancer.

A 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund found the evidence for a link between eating foods containing animal fat and bowel cancer is limited.

Similarly, there is some evidence suggesting there is a link between fat intake and breast cancer in women who have been through the menopause, but this evidence is limited.

However, regularly eating foods high in fat can affect your health in other ways that may increase your risk of cancer. For example, if you eat foods high in fat, you may eat more calories than you need and put on weight.

Obesity and cancer

Being very overweight or obese can increase your risk of some cancers, such as:

Eating a healthy diet low in fat can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Diet and cancer

The link between diet and cancer risk is complex and research is continuing.

Scientists have estimated unhealthy diets cause nearly 1 in 10 cancer cases in the UK. For example, there is evidence that:

Fat and healthy eating

There is evidence that eating a healthy diet high in fibre that also includes lots of fruit and vegetables can reduce your risk of some cancers.

While eating too much saturated fat may not increase your cancer risk, it can increase your risk of other health conditions, such as coronary heart disease.

For more information, read Fat: the facts and Eight tips for healthy eating.

The Cancer Research UK website has more information about diet and cancer.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 03/06/2015

Next review due: 30/11/2017