Fruits, Veggies Don’t Cut Colon Cancer
But Cancer Risk Higher Among People With the Lowest Intake of Fruits and Vegetables, Researchers Say
The analysis of the 14 studies may have some inherent flaws, says Mansi
Shah, RD, a clinical dietitian at the Outpatient Cancer Center at the Samuel
Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los
Angeles, who reviewed the findings for WebMD.
The diet was self-reported. "People can forget about what they eat, and
they can overestimate," Shah says.
Although the link between fruit and vegetable intake and colon cancer was
weak, Shah says a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is still recommended for a
number of other reasons. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, she says, may
be associated with a healthier diet overall.
"Most people who are consciously eating healthy, eating a lot of fruits
and vegetables, are the ones who say they try to limit their intake of fat and
refined carbohydrates," she says.
What to Do?
"Continue eating [the recommended] five to nine servings of fruits and
vegetables a day," Shah advises. Doing so will help protect you from heart
disease, obesity, and high blood pressure, she says.
McCullough and Koushik agree. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables might
help people avoid other unhealthy foods known to raise colon cancer risk, says
McCullough. Such as? "Red and processed meats are consistently linked with
an elevated risk of colon cancer," she says.
In 2007, about 112,340 new cases of colon cancer and 41,420 new cases of
rectal cancer are expected in the U.S., according to the American Cancer
Society. An estimated 52,180 deaths from colorectal cancer are expected this