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Can eating organic food lower your cancer risk? Hard to prove

The consumption of organic products, such as those at an organic supermarket in western France, increases, but researchers can really…



The consumption of organic products, such as those at an organic supermarket in western France, increases, but researchers can really prove the health benefits ?

A new, very ballyhooed study that shows that the most eager consumers of organic food had fewer cancer than those who never eat such products illustrating the difficulty of establishing cause and effect when evaluating diet and health.

It is effectively impossible to prove in a laboratory that any given food reduces the risk of developing a disease as complex as cancer.

“The diet is complex”, Nigel Brockton, Research Director at the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), told AFP.

“We would never make a recommendation based on a study, even though it is statistically significant.”

Researchers, like the French team behind Monday’s study, must then follow a large test group and wait for cancer to develop in some of the subjects.

They then hope that they can, after that, isolate a specific behavior among all the sick who made the difference.

Thousands of diet and disease studies have been conducted for decades.

Even the biggest rulings are sometimes discussed, as claimed in 201

3, showed the difficult benefits of the so-called Mediterranean diet in the fight against heart disease.

This study was withdrawn from the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year over criticism of the methods used.



A new French study suggests that eager consumers of organic foods may have a reduced risk of cancer

Only a major study of the Nexus between Organic Food and Cancer was performed before the latest effort was published in Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA ) Internal Medicine.

The 2014 survey, called the Million Women Study, used a test group of 600,000 British women. There was no overall difference in cancer risk between those who ate organic foods and those who did not.

It only found that organic food lovers had a reduced risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Questionnaire and Self-Reporting

So how do you go to the new study of the French team?

It is certainly more detailed than the Million Women Study, although it looked at 69,000 women, about 10 percent of the sample size.

The hypothesis is that the organic food enthusiasts consume fewer pesticides in their fruits, vegetables and grains, which reduces the risk of cancer, as some pesticides are suspected to be carcinogenic.

After recruiting NutriNet -Sante, volunteers filled in a questionnaire about different issues (income, physical activity, smoking habits, body mass index …).

They also reported three times how much organic food they had eaten during the previous 24-hour period.



The French law’s hypothesis is that organic food enthusiasts consume fewer pesticides in their fruits, vegetables and grains, as the pasta sets here, which reduces the risk of cancer, as some pesticides are suspected to be carcinogenic

Researchers separated participants into four groups, based on their consumption of organic food. They then calculated the number of cancers in each group over an average period of four and a half years.

In the quarter of people who said they ate the most organic products, the risk of cancer was 25 percent less than in the quarter that never eats organic food.

In absolute terms, it meant an increase in cancer incidence of 0.6 percentage points or six more sick of 1,000.

“One Study At A Time” ]

The only statistically significant correlations were a reduction in breast cancer in postmenopausal women and a significant decrease in the incidence of lymphoma.

The writers were careful to correct their results to take into account the fact that organic food consumers were on average richer, less overweight and smoked less than those who did not.

However, other invisible factors, either environmentally-friendly or linked to lifestyle habits, could also have played a role – the usual problem with diet and exercise studies.

“People who consciously eat organic food, unlike reporting It’s likely different in many other ways too, “noted Brockton.

AICR proposes a series of behaviors to reduce the risk of cancer maintaining a healthy weight, exercise, healthy diet, not too much red meat, but does not recommend a certain type of food.


<img src = “https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/csz/news/800/2018/2-theabsenceof.jpg” alt = “The absence of significant data on the pesticide traces found in the subjects induced criticism, including from experts [19659002] The absence of essential data on the pesticide traces found in the subjects induced criticism, including from Harvard University experts

Other problems occurred on Monday’s study: Pesticidal traces of substances were not measured, resulting in criticism from Harvard University experts in the same number of JAMA who called for caution.

The co-author of the study Julia Baudry told AFP that such measurements were only made for a small subgroup.

John Ioannidis, a professor of Disease Prevention at Stanford University, who is known to say that most published studies are fake, says self-reporting can be a problem in this case.

“Most, including myself (a professor of disease prevention), could not tell me exactly if I eat organic food and how much / how often,” Ioannidis told AFP. 19659005] “The study has a three percent chance of finding something important and a 97 percent chance of spreading ridiculous nonsense.”

For Brockton, “the research continues one study at a time.”

“When we see very consistent observations or associations with things like alcohol and red meat and body weight, when many many studies show these things and again, in different populations, we have much more confidence,” he says.

Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society continues to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables, organic or not.


Explore further:
Can organic food help you reduce the risk of cancer? A new study suggests that the answer may be yes

Journal Reference:
New England Journal of Medicine

Journal of the American Medical Association


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