Published: Fri, October 26, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Eating organic foods frequently can keep cancer away, new study suggests

Eating organic foods frequently can keep cancer away, new study suggests

A new, much-ballyhooed study showing that the most avid consumers of organic food had fewer cancers than those who never eat such products illustrates the difficulty of establishing cause and effect when evaluating diet and health. Yes, that's a lower risk of post-menopausal breast cancers, lymphomas, skin cancers and colorectal cancers.

Compared to people who consumed the least amount of organic foods, people who consumed the most were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer during the study. They ate more fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes, and less processed meat, other meat, poultry and milk - the kinds of dietary patterns the Cancer Council recommends to reduce the risk of disease.

Pesticide is among the risk factors of cancer and organic food has less of the stuff compared to regular food. Glyphosate is also listed by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable human carcinogen. Additionally, as this was a purely observational study, the researchers believe further research needs to be done in this area to draw the most complete conclusion. However, "organic food intake is notoriously hard to assess and its self-report is highly susceptible to confounding by positive health behaviors and socioeconomic factors", the editorial continued. The participants were split into four groups, based on the number of organic foods that they consumed on average.

Though some organic produce is still exposed to pesticides, the researchers noted that in the European Union, they're natural pesticides, which are known to be less harmful than traditional sprays. According to scientists, not the last reason of this alarming statistics - pesticides that enter from the soil into food.

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In the meantime, the American Cancer Society continues to urge people to eat more fruits and vegetables - organic or not.

When they considered each type of cancer separately, they found that only three had a statistically significant association with organic food consumption.

However the diet had no significant effect on bowel or prostate cancers.

Dr Jorge Chavarro from the Harvard School of Public Health has analysed the results.

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"Organic food standards do not allow the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms and restrict the use of veterinary medications", the investigators stated.

The study authors were careful to correct their results to account for the fact that consumers of organic foods were on average richer, less overweight, and smoked less than those who did not. Secondly, in the study, 16 categories were made from organic food milk to chocolates and wines. "It is unclear what the intended exposure, organic food consumption, was actually measuring", the author said.

Several studies have pointed to an increase of cancer incidence in Punjab to the state's rampant use of pesticides, specifically in the Malwa region.

"For overall health, current evidence indicates that the benefits of consuming conventionally grown produce are likely to outweigh the possible risks from pesticide exposure", the commentary said.

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