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Vegetarians Less Likely to Develop Cancer

Vegetables for vegetariansWe recently came upon an article on the beneficial effects of vegetarian diet in The Guardian, on of England’s largest daily newspapers. The article by Karen McVeigh details findings from a study done at the Cancer Research UK epidemiology unit at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The article begins:

For years, they have boasted of the health benefits of their leafy diets, but now vegetarians have the proof that has so far eluded them: when it comes to cancer risks, they have the edge on carnivores.

Fresh evidence from the largest study to date to investigate dietary habits and cancer has concluded that vegetarians are 45% less likely to develop cancer of the blood than meat eaters and are 12% less likely to develop cancer overall.

The article continues later:

In 2005, the Epic study, funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, concluded that eating just two portions of red meat a day – the equivalent of a bacon sandwich and a fillet steak – increased the risk of bowel cancer by 35%. It found that eating fibre, in the form of vegetables, fruit and wholegrain cereals, lessened the risk of cancer and that fish, eaten at least every other day, was also protective.

Annette Pinner, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, said: “It is widely recognised that a third of cancers are directly related to diet and what’s interesting in this study is the findings on blood cancers. We wouldn’t claim vegetarianism is a panacea for cancer but it is a step in the right direction.”

The full article can be found here at The Guardian. The actual study is available as a PDF from Nature.com.

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