Veggies Not Great for Cancer Protection?

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman says he considers cancer a disease resulting from fruit and vegetable deficiency. Here are his reasons:
  • Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency disease.
  • Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.
  • Studies on the cancer-reducing effects of vitamin pills containing various nutrients (such as folate, vitamin C and E) get mixed reviews; sometimes they show a slight benefit, but most show no benefit. Occasionally studies show that taking isolated nutrients is harmful, as was discussed earlier regarding beta-carotene.
  • Beans, in general, not just soy, have additional anti-cancer benefits against reproductive cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.1
I point this out because today there’s a video on CNN stating that fruits and vegetables just don’t offer the big-bang for cancer protection that researchers once thought. Now, I’ve watched the video a few times and I still don’t understand their claim.

They say fruits and vegetables aren’t the saviors many thought them to be, but the report still recommends people eat a diet heavy in diverse plant matter. Hard to know what to make of that.
1. Key, T.J. A., M. Thorogood, P. N. Appleby, and M. L. Burr. 1996. Dietary habits and mortality in 11,000 vegetarians and health conscious people: results of a 17-year follow up. BMJ 313: 775-79.
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Michael - October 27, 2006 9:59 AM

It probably depends on how old the participants of the study were. Dr. Fuhrman has stated many times that lifestyle changes are most effective in infancy adn childhood and lose their effectiveness as we age. The people in the study may have been in their 50's and 60's and therefore their lifetime of poor eating habits have made cancer protection relatively small. Another factor is how great of a change did they make? If they increased fruit and vegetable consumption by a small percentage, you aren't going to get much benefit. These factors should be taken into account when reading these kinds of studies.

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