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On April 6th, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of a study on the relationship between the dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and the incidence of cancer. The media had fun with the headlines because the results of the new study run so dramatically counter to previous studies that have indicated that cancer can be prevented by a high intake of fruits and vegetables. According to the authors of the EPIC study, previous Case Control Studies "likely" produced false results indicating that a fruit and vegetable diet was significantly beneficial in preventing cancer because "they are inherently biased." Since Case Control Studies, by definition, seek to identify the factors contributing to cancer by comparing people who have the disease with those who do not, but are otherwise similar, they can easily introduce bias if they do not adequately establish that the two groups being compared are, indeed, otherwise similar. A Cohort Study is a research study in which a particular outcome, such as death from cancer, is compared in groups of people who are alike in most ways but differ by a certain characteristic, such as smoking -- or in this case, those who eat lots of fruits and vegetables and those who don't. Likewise, analyzing the benefits of ALL fruits and vegetables in terms of preventing cancer dilutes the data -- totally obscuring the benefits that can be found in specific fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, raspberries, pomegranates, and broccoli.
The bottom line is that lettuce, corn, carrots, and peas make up a whole lot more of the fruits and vegetables consumed than do broccoli and pomegranates. I found this pretty amazing because after more than 30 years in the field (that was ten years ago), I could claim only a general working knowledge of alternative health as a whole, and a mild expertise in only one or two areas.
So, let's say for a moment that eating more fruits and vegetables only improves your cancer outcome by 2.6%.
This relates to the EPIC study, because, as I've already mentioned, diet is usually only one component of an alternative health program.
Along with the fact that the study's conclusions on the value of fruits and vegetables in preventing cancer are fatally flawed, there is still solid evidence that fruits and vegetables protect against heart disease and strokes by reducing blood pressure.
In conclusion, there is nothing of value in the conclusions of the EPIC study on diet and cancer, and you still have every reason in the world to eat a Mediterranean type diet that includes an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables -- not only for heart health, but for cancer prevention as well. Reynolds gave up cooked food seven years ago and now eats a raw food diet made up of vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits. Analyzing data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), which recruited 142,605 men and 335,873 women in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, between 1992 and 2000, the study concluded that fruits and vegetables provide only a modest protection, at best, against cancer. In a Cohort Study, groups are separated in advance (those who eat lots of fruit and vegetables and those who don't, for example), and then their outcomes are tracked over time.


And worse, the dilution would be made even more extreme because the dominant fruits and vegetables that people eat are of the non-cancer preventing variety.
Quite simply, any study on diet and cancer that does not include as part of its research team an expert in the use of diet in preventing cancer is fatally flawed.
Doctors acknowledge the years of study it takes to become a medical doctor, but think it only takes a weekend to learn anything of use in alternative health -- actually a far bigger field than modern medicine. Any qualified naturopath who was familiar with diet as a cancer preventative could have guided them around the flaw in their cohort selection. Let's pretend for a moment that despite all its other deficiencies, the conclusions arrived at are accurate -- that fruit and vegetables only account for a small improvement in outcomes.
In fact, a separate investigation of the data used in the EPIC study suggests that those who eat five servings a day of fruit and vegetables have a 30% lower incidence of heart disease and strokes than those who eat less than one and a half servings. She went from eating and loving Chinese buffets and McDonald's to creating her own recipes using only raw products. This makes them inherently dissimilar from the case group in ways beyond just the intake of fruits and vegetables.
The problem is that plants can grow quite well without selenium in the soil, which is the case with all intensively farmed soil unless it is regularly re-mineralized, something that is only done on a handful of high-end organic farms.
And by such an expert, I'm not talking about a dietician or nutritionist who comes from the schools and universities controlled by medical doctors. Keep in mind, I have not said in this newsletter that the conclusions are wrong -- only that the holes in the study are so profound, that any conclusions drawn from it are unsupportable. But again, that merely displays their ignorance of a true alternative health approach to diet and cancer. Any restrictive diet can be dangerous if followed for a long time, as you will not be Gwyneth Paltrow Diet: Star Eats Steamed Veggies, No Carbs weight loss vegetable only diet. Even more damning, the study concluded that those who eat virtually no fruits and vegetables are only 9% more likely to develop cancer than those who eat lots of fruits and vegetables.


Or to put it another way, broccoli sprouts could be as much as 90% effective at preventing certain cancers, but once you dilute that data with the massive intake of iceberg lettuce, which has zero preventative value, it would only show up as 2.6% effective. The problem is that fruits and vegetables high in selenium do indeed have cancer fighting properties; those without lose out on that benefit.
Only arrogance could account for the fact that the researchers felt they had the nuances of using diet to prevent cancer under control without bringing in a functioning expert in the field.
Reynolds states that her youthful appearance is largely due to the fact that she only eats a raw diet composed of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. As healthy as her meals sound, Reynolds admits that switching over to a raw diet is not easy and requires a lot of discipline. For example, in studying cancer, one group identified in the data may have included lots of fruits in vegetables in their diets, whereas another group did not.
Thus the issue of "crop production" is not just of passing interest in any study of the cancer fighting properties of fruits and vegetables.
An alternative treatment that would be dismissed as ineffective because testing showed it to be only 10 percent effective in isolation (think fruits and vegetables in the EPIC study) might nevertheless be an invaluable part of a comprehensive program that contained seven of these 10 percent--effective components -- giving you a 70 percent chance of overcoming your cancer if used in combination. In fact, virtually all previous studies trying to identify the relationship between diets high in fruits and vegetables and cancer were Case Control Studies.
Running a study on all the cancer prevention capabilities of ALL fruits and vegetables makes as much sense as running a study on ALL college students to see if going to college makes for good doctors. No, I'm talking about alternative health nutritionists who actually live their teachings and who actually use diet to cure disease. So, the only way you hear about effective alternatives is by word of mouth or anecdotal evidence.




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