Posted on Oct 24, 2018, 7 p.m.
Eating organic can help to protect against cancer according to studies; those who frequently consume organic foods lowered overall risk of developing cancer, as published in JAMA.
The study suggests those consuming primarily organic diets were more likely to ward off non-Hodgkin lymphoma and postmenopausal breast cancer. Researchers from Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale analyzed diets of 68,946 adults of which over three quarters were women in their mid 40s on average. Participants were divided into 4 groups depending on how often they reported consuming organic products including fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, ready to eat meals, vegetable oils and condiments, and dietary supplements and other products. Follow up time was more than 4.5 years on average, during that time a total of 1,340 cancers developed; of which most prevalent was breast cancer at 459, prostate cancer at 180, skin cancer at 135, colorectal cancer at 99, and non-Hodgkin lymphomas at 47.
Comparing subject’s organic food scores with cancer cases a negative relationship between high scores and overall cancer was calculated. Those consuming the most organic foods were found to be 25% less likely to develop cancer, specifically 73% less likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 21% less likely to develop post-menopausal breast cancer. Even those who consumed low to medium quality organic diets experienced reduced risk of cancer according to the researchers.
Findings are consistent with the International Agency for Research in Cancer findings of pesticides causing cancer in humans. Findings also align with those showing a negative relationship between consuming organic foods and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Should these findings being confirmed promotion of organic diets may provide a promising cancer prevention strategy.
Assessing diet intake is difficult, even though information may be known as to why people do not eat organic foods, all non-consumers of organic foods are considered the same; such as are person who can afford to eat organic but don’t because they have a poor attitude towards health in general may influence results. It is unclear that quantifying organic diets are really calculating what was wanted to be measured: reducing exposure to pesticide residue through diet, says Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro of the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. Explaining that researchers need to mindful of certain limitations in this study when designing future studies.
Correlations have been shown between organic diets and pesticide levels in urine, and this needs to be shown. Different conventional foods are more contaminated than others, consuming certain foods will do a better job at protecting against ingesting pesticides, according to Chavarro the study did a poor job sorting and evaluating these differences, going on to say relationship of organic diets and cancer risk is still unclear, everyone should pay more attention to how much organic food is consumed, and more studies need to be done.
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