Study finds almost no link between fruit and vegetable intake and reduced cancer risk

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Could the famous 1990 recommendation from the World Health Organization regarding the number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables to lower one's cancer risk have been wrong? A recent enormous prospective study says … it's likely.


An international team of researchers examined data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), which followed over 400,000 men and women for an average of 8.7 years. They then applied Cox regression analysis looking for links between lifestyle, diet and the risk of developing cancer.


142,605 men
335,873 women


What they found was a reduced cancer risk linked to:
Increased intake of total fruit and vegetables (3 %)
Increased vegetable intake (2% for women, not for men)
Increased fruit intake (1 %)


The authors concluded: "A very small inverse association between intake of total fruits and vegetables and cancer risk was observed in this study. Given the small magnitude of the observed associations, caution should be applied in their interpretation."

In an accompanying editorial, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health noted that these findings merely confirm what previous findings have shown: that fruit and vegetable intake seems to do little or nothing towards lowering one's cancer risk, although the intake might help reduce one's risk of heart disease.


These findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

By Ross Bonander

Source: J Natl Cancer Inst

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