Fruit and veg will not stop cancer

A nine year study of diet and cancer, involving nearly a half-million Europeans in 10 countries, has found that and intake of fruits and vegetables will not stop the big C.

According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which we get for the “Spot the benign tumour” competition, those who get more than two servings of fruits and veggies a day lower their cancer risk by only four percent.

There once was a belief that eating five-a-day would reduce overall cancer risk by as much as 50 to 70 percent. But now all it seems to do is give you smelly number twos.

Apparently earlier researchers were misled by a bias built into the surveys of what people eat.

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that those who agree to be interviewed are likely to overrepresent health-conscious persons who smoke less, exercise more, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

So, researchers end up comparing healthy people who happen to eat more fruits and veggies to cancer patients more likely to eat like a truly representative population. That makes it look like eating fruit and veggies is associated with noncancerous healthiness.

The new study however draws on data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. This followed participants and follows them over time.

However, Willett thinks that it might not be all fruit and vegetables that kill off cancer. Lycopene in tomatoes to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, for instance. Antioxidants in some food may be especially protective in the diets of children and young adults.

The numbers mean that if you eat fruit and vegetables it will lower the risk of stroke but not cancer.