Does Eating Organic Food Prevent Cancer?

Jan 8, 2019 • 6 comments

Does Eating Organic Food Prevent Cancer?

Eating organic food can lower the risk of cancer . However, this French study published at the end of October illustrates the difficulty of establishing a precise cause-and-effect relationship.

Recent studies on organic

Previously, only one large study had looked at the effect of organic food on cancer: the Million Women Study, consisting of 600,000 British women, in 2014. It found no difference between organic and non-users on the general risk of cancer, but had seen a reduced risk for a particular cancer: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A French study (Sorbonne, Inra, Inserm ...) also reviewed the subject. Published in the American magazine Jama, it is based on the observation of 69,000 participants, mostly women.

Fewer pesticides, fewer cancers?

The hypothesis is that consumers of organic foods ingest less synthetic pesticides from fruits, vegetables, and cereals, and thus, reduce their risk, as some pesticides are suspected of being carcinogenic . After their recruitment, the volunteers of the NutriNet-Santé study completed a questionnaire (income, physical activity, smoker or not, body mass index ...) and declared the organic food consumed in the previous 24 hours. The study divided participants into four groups, according to their bio consumption. Then the number of cancers in each group was counted over four and a half years on average. In the quarter of people who reported eating the most organic food, the risk of cancer was 25% lower than in the quarter who never ate organic food. In absolute terms, the increase is only 0.6 points, ie six additional patients per 1,000 people.

The study found a statistically significant correlation only for breast cancer for postmenopausal women, and for lymphoma including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The authors took care to correct their results to take into account that organic eaters were, on average, richer, less obese, and less smokers . But other invisible factors, environmental or lifestyle-related, may also play a role. This is the typical problem of these studies.

Organic consumers, better overall health?

"People who eat organic deliberately, to the point of declaring it, are probably different from others in many other ways," AFP Nigel Brockton, research director at the American Institute for Research Against Cancer, told AFP. (AICR). He recommends, rather than a particular type of food, a set of practices to reduce the risks of cancer: normal weight, physical activity, healthy diet, and to not consume too much red meat ... 

"The diet is a complex thing," he says. "We would never make a recommendation based on a single study, even if it is statistically significant." Another problem mentioned is that most people would be unable to say exactly how much organic food they eat. "The study is 3% lucky to have found something important, and 97% to propagate absurd and ridiculous results," concludes Nigel Brockton, who nonetheless welcomes the inevitable advance of medical research .

As for red meat or cigarettes, it will take many studies going in the same direction to conclude on organic food . In the meantime, the American Cancer Society continues to advocate eating fruits and vegetables, organic or not .


Do you eat organic food?

Do you follow any particular diet to improve or help your condition?

Have you changed your diet since your diagnosis?


on 1/25/19

Hello members, what did you think of this article? any opinions?

Do you eat organic food? Do you follow any particular diet to improve or help your condition? Have you changed your diet since your diagnosis?

@Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ @Hidden username‍ 

on 1/25/19

No I do not eat organic food. I have a diet I follow because I can't eat wheat, rye, or barley it makes me ill. The thing I change because of my lung cancer is I don't eat over easy eggs due to treatment. 

on 5/30/19

Thank you for sharing @Hidden username‍ . Since you have made those modifications in your diet have you seen good results?

on 5/30/19

Hello everyone,

A new American study published in the JNCI Cancer Spectrum may be helpful to advance this discussion.

About 80,110 new cases of cancer in people over 20 years of age in the United States are estimated to be caused by poor nutrition, representing 5.2% of new diagnoses of invasive cancers in 2015. These figures are about the same as cancers due to alcohol consumption.

Seven dietary factors were assessed: low consumption of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and dairy products, and high consumption of processed meats, red meats and sweetened drinks (such as sodas).

The majority of cancer cases were attributed to:

- Low consumption of whole grains
- Low consumption of dairy products
- Low consumption of fruit and vegetables
- High consumption of processed meat
- High consumption of red meat
- High consumption of sweetened drinks

The most diet-related cancers are colon and rectal cancers.

Do you eat a lot of the recommended foods: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and dairy? Have you changed or do you plan to change your consumption of the noted "bad" foods in the article: processed meat, red meat, and sweetened drinks?

on 6/11/19

I eat food very low on carbs if possible no carbs. I buy pasta made of vegetables .I eat salads meat I substitute vegetables for ones I can eat. My a1c has come down. From 7.9 to 5.1. And I walk every day.

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