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Despite New York Times, There's Plenty of Evidence Diet
Can Prevent Cancer

Best-selling author and noted nutrition expert Joel Fuhrman, M.D. says the article in September 27th Science Times misses the mark and could lead to unhealthy conclusions.
Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Flemington, New Jersey
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday's New York Times says a healthy diet has only "hypothetical and elusive" benefits when it comes to preventing cancer. Dr. Fuhrman has done the research and written a book on it -- and he says the article is misleading. People who want to avoid cancer, says Fuhrman, would be wise to eat the healthiest diet possible.

As Dr. Fuhrman explains on his blog at www.DiseaseProof.com and in his recent book Disease-Proof Your Child (St. Martin's 2005), there is much confusion about the role diet plays in preventing cancer. The studies cited by the Times reporter Gina Kolata examined modest dietary changes over relatively short periods in adults. The reason why some studies performed on adults were not conclusive is that it is childhood diets that are the chief cause of adult cancers, not adult diets. When we are growing the cells are more sensitive to the damaging effects of poor nutrition.

By looking at the bigger picture, including the diet of the very young, Dr. Fuhrman has assembled countless studies that show how diet conclusively can create or prevent cancer. Consider:

  • In what the Times once called "the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease" researchers found that most cancers increased in direct proportion to the quantity of animal products eaten and decreased relative to the amount of fruits, vegetables, and beans consumed.
  • A study in the British Medical Journal studied 3,834 subjects for more than half a century, and found a positive association between calories consumed during early life and later mortality from every cancer other than those related to smoking.
  • Family Practice News published research showing that teenagers who eat more high-fiber, high-antioxidant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts have a lower occurrence of benign breast disease, the precursor marker of breast cancer.
  • A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that the younger a woman was, the greater effect diet could have on her later breast cancer incidence.
  • The British Journal of Cancer, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and the European Journal of Cancer Prevention have all published studies showing that animal fat has been implicated as a cause of cancer, while the consumption of fruits and vegetables has been shown to protect against cancer.
  • In Japan, a 41-year National Nutrition Survey found those with the highest consumption of plant fiber in childhood had the lowest incidence of colon cancer.
  • A study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found those who were overweight as young women were more likely to get breast cancer. Weight loss later in life (the kind tracked by the studies in the Times) had little effect.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. As Dr. Fuhrman explains on www.DiseaseProof.com and in his book Disease-Proof Your Child, an excellent diet can also have a dramatic effect in reducing asthma, ear infections, allergies, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. has discussed the benefits of good nutrition on Good Morning America, The Today Show, the Food Network, CNN and the Discovery Channel. He regularly addresses conferences, college campuses, newspapers, magazines, and radio talk shows across the nation. Dr. Fuhrman is the author of the critically acclaimed top-selling books Disease-Proof Your Child (St. Martin's Press 2005) and Eat to Live (Little, Brown 2003).


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