High-Carb, Low-Fat Fruit And Veggie Diet Fruitless Against Breast Cancer
Posted Sep 12 2008 8:57am
Dr. Pierce says fruits and veggies may not prevent breast cancer deaths
Dean Ornish, Joel Fuhrman, and other low-fatties, eat your heart out!
That's because your cherished high-carb, low-fat fruits and vegetables diet took a major blow this week in the largest study of its kind that found women who showed early signs of breast cancer who ate this way did NOT have a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to women who followed a diet consisting of five servings a day of fruits and vegetables as reported in this Yahoo News story.
Well, well, well, what do we have here? It seems the many layers of the low-fat lie onion just keep getting peeled away one-by-one as new research builds the case that this dietary approach is the fraud we know it to be. Ever since this historic 8-year study was released in February 2006 showing a high-carb, low-fat diet does NOT improve the risk of cancer or heart disease as had been claimed previously, it's all been downhill from there.
Lead researcher Dr. John P. Pierce, professor at the University of California San Diego Cancer Center in the Family & Preventive Medicine Cancer Prevention & Control Program, and his fellow researchers observed 3,088 American women (between the ages of 18-70) who were previously diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer and split them into two groups:
INTERVENTION GROUP --1537 of the study participants were randomly assigned to receive a telephone counseling program supplemented with cooking classes and newsletters that promoted daily targets of 5 vegetable servings plus 16 oz of vegetable juice; 3 fruit servings; 30 g of fiber; and 15% to 20% of energy intake from fat.
COMPARISON GROUP --1551 of the study participants followed a written form of the "5-A-Day" dietary guidelines.
The INTERVENTION GROUP ate TWICE as many fruits and vegetables as the COMPARISON GROUP over the course of the study that took place in seven different cities. Each of the women were observed from 6-11 years.
What did the researchers find?
The INTERVENTION GROUP increased their servings of vegetables by 65 percent, fruits by 25 percent, fiber by 30 percent, while LOWERING their fat intake by 13 percent. These changes were confirmed by blood tests among those in that group.
There were a total of 518 recurrences of breast cancer over the average 7.3 years of follow-up among both groups. But the difference between the two groups was insignificant:
INTERVENTION GROUP --256 women (16.7 percent) COMPARISON GROUP --262 women (16.9 percent)
Similarly, there were 315 deaths with eight out of ten of them due directly to the breast cancer, but there was little statistical difference between the two groups:
INTERVENTION GROUP --155 women (10.1 percent) COMPARISON GROUP --160 women (10.3 percent)
The researchers admit that there is plenty of room for discussion about what nutritional approach is best to ward off various types of cancer rather than simply accepting the "all-you-can-eat fruits and veggies" diet that has become the tried and true advice given out by doctors and medical professionals.
Dr. Marcia Stefanick, one of the researchers on this study from Stanford University, told Reuters that she was "surprised and disappointed" by the results of this study.
"I think we believed that by eating real food and nutrient-dense food, we were going to come up with a different outcome, but we didn't," she explained.
Perhaps rather than being upset, Dr. Stefanick, why not learn from the empirical knowledge you have gleaned from this experience to realize perhaps the old adage of eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables was just plain bad advice. It's okay to admit that even if it goes against everything you ever believed about a healthy diet.
Dr. Pierce was a bit more pragmatic in his response to the results explaining there is a "threshold effect" when it comes to your intake of fruits and veggies.
"I look at it the other way," he stated. "We're telling women they don't have to go overboard here. They can have a good quality of life without worrying about their dietary pattern all the time."
Well hallelujah! A voice of reason in the scientific community at last! This obsession with having people eats unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables as if it is the great cure-all has been annoying at best. I've always contended that kind of dietary advice is a copout, mainly because what people consider their veggie intake is mostly potatoes and more specifically, FRIED potatoes.
The researchers said the recommended vegetables are the nutrient-dense, non-starchy dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and carrots and NOT the popular nutritionally bankrupt ones like iceberg lettuce and the extremely high-carb white potatoes.
One area of study that may be pursued further is whether consuming a low-diet high fruits and vegetables as a young person results in lower breast cancer risk.