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Study Further Erodes Evidence for Eating Fruits and Vegetables to Prevent Cancer

Mike Mitka
JAMA. 2010;303(21):2127-2128. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.684.
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The idea that eating fruits and vegetables helps protect against cancer has been both popular and enduring, enshrined in public health recommendations and promoted in the media. But new findings from the largest, most rigorous study yet performed on the subject have now added to the mounting evidence that consuming large quantities of fruits and vegetables offers only modest reduction in cancer risk.

The study is a prospective analysis involving 478 478 individuals from 12 countries enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Researchers followed up these individuals for a median of 8.7 years and found a very small inverse association between cancer risk and total intake of fruits and vegetables (Boffetta P et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010;102[8]:529-537).

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According to the most rigorous study to date on the potential health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, consuming these foods may not provide robust protection against cancer, as previously suggested by small studies, but it does appear to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

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