Food for thought

"Eat to Live, Not Live to Eat"
John H Weisburger, 2000

The following comments are taken directly from a recent review by two US researchers on the effects of diet and nutrition on cancer (Annual Review of Nutrition (2016) 36, 665-681)

Perhaps the largest systematic review of the literature on associations among diet, nutrition, and cancer risk has been done by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research. An enormous amount of literature (more than 7,000 publications) on the effects of food, nutrition, and physical activity on the risks of 16 different cancers has been systematically reviewed and the evidence summarized and distilled into a very impressive graphic that depicts whether there is probable or convincing evidence for an association, positive or negative, between particular factors and each type of cancer.

Consistent with the early suggestion of decreased cancer risk for prudent diets, the dietary component associated with a decreased risk for the largest number of cancers is the consumption of fruits, which decreases the risk for cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, oesophagus, lung, and stomach. Consumption of non-starchy vegetables also decreases risk for all these cancers, except cancer of the lung. Fermentation of these apparently cancer preventing fruits and vegetables into alcoholic beverages (and their consumption) is the single dietary factor associated with an increased risk for the largest number of cancers, including mouth, pharynx and larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, and breast.

If we’re mindful of our health, the message is clear that we should eat more fruit and vegetables and drink less alcoholic beverages.

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