Monday, October 29, 2018

Higher Intake of Organic Foods Tied to Lower Cancer Risk

Higher intake of organic foods is associated with lower risk for breast cancer and lymphomas, a JAMA Internal Medicine study suggests.

Nearly 70,000 French adults reported how often they consumed 16 types of organic products (e.g., fruits, vegetables, dairy items) and then were followed for roughly 5 years. During that time, over 1300 new cancers were diagnosed. After adjustment for overall diet and other confounders, cancer risk decreased as organic food consumption increased. In particular, adults with the highest intake of organic foods had a 24% lower risk for cancer than those with the lowest organic intake.

When examined by cancer type, the risk reduction was limited to postmenopausal breast cancer and lymphomas.

Commentators point to numerous study limitations and urge caution in interpreting the findings. They write, "For overall health, current evidence indicates that the benefits of consuming conventionally grown produce are likely to outweigh the possible risks from pesticide exposure. Concerns over pesticide risks should not discourage intake of conventional fruits and vegetables, especially because organic produce is often expensive and inaccessible to many populations."

My Take:
I couldn’t disagree more with the commentator’s conclusions. However, going 100% organic is not feasible for most of us.

If you will enter “Organic Food” into the search box in the upper left hand corner of my blog site, the first blog that appears is entitled “Organic Food Does Not Reduce Women’s Risk of Cancer”. It was posted on April 11, 2014. At the end of the article I list the “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen”. The clean 15 can be purchased without much fear of environmental toxins but when buying any of the dirty dozen, spend the extra money and buy organic.

Water is a similar scenario. I distill my own water for drinking and food preparation at home and I provide it for my patients at the office. However, during a long bike ride I only carry 48 ounces of distilled water on the bike. When that’s gone, I typically purchase bottled water from a convenience store on route. But if I’m desperate, I’ll use tap water from a drinking fountain. Sure it’s loaded with chlorine and trihalomethanes, maybe even radon, but I need to stay hydrated.

Bottom Line:
Make intelligent choices with your food and drink. If it’s an apple, strawberries or spinach, these foods are highly contaminated with pesticides – eat organic. However, if it’s a pineapple or sweet corn it’s safe to eat the commercial brands. Copy the two lists – dirty dozen and clean 15 – and post them on your refrigerator.

Source: October 23, 2018 New England Journal of Medicine

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