Comments on “Cancer and Vegetarianism”
Many people commented on yesterday’s post, Cancer and Vegetarianism, saying they wished the researchers had separated vegans from vegetarians.
In the paper, the authors stated, “…because of the small number of cancers among vegans, in this article the vegans are included in the vegetarian category.”
All we really know from that statement is that vegans didn’t have an unusually large number of cancers – so much that they would have reached some sort of statistical significance. It could also be that vegans have less cancer, or even a lot less cancer, but there was not enough data to create any sort of statistical significance.
I think it’s reasonable to hold out some hope that vegans will eventually be shown to have less cancer than meat-eaters or lacto-ovo vegetarians.
It could also be that except for in cases of very high amounts of animal products and very low amounts of fruits and vegetables, diet might not affect cancer that much. In the more moderate amounts of these foods, your body may be getting enough antioxidants, or have enough other mechanisms, to deal with carcinogens introduced by food.
I didn’t include a citation to the study in the original post:
Key TJ, Appleby PN, Spencer EA, Travis RC, Roddam AW, Allen NE. Cancer incidence in vegetarians: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford). Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89(suppl):1S-7S.
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