Does eating organic food prevent cancer? Yes, a new study suggests
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People who regularly eat organic food are less likely to develop cancer than those who don’t, according to a new study out of France.
A team of researchers studied 68,946 adult volunteers from France who provided information on how often they ate organic food, drinks and even dietary supplements. Participants were given a score, based on how often they eat organic food ranging from “most of the time” to “never” or “I don’t know.”
During two follow-up appointments, one in 2009 and another in 2016, the researchers then tracked cancer diagnoses, the most prevalent being breast cancer. Other cancers observed included prostate cancer, skin cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphomas and lymphomas.
People who reported higher organic food scores were less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the rest of the group. For example, those who consumed the most organic food were 25 percent less likely to have cancer, according to the research. That number grew to more than half when looking at cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
This research published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine doesn’t necessarily mean that organic food is reason people are less likely to develop cancer. The reason for the results might be because of other lifestyle or environmental factors. The research also contradicts some data reported in a previous study, the Million Women Study, which linked organic food consumption to a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer.
A commentary by three nutrition experts also published in JAMA warns of some weaknesses in the French study, such as possible flaws in the questionnaire used to measure organic food consumption. The authors also stress data around the link between organic food and cancer remains unclear, and they urge the public to continue making dietary decisions based on current recommendations.
“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,” the commentary states.
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