Friday, September 28, 2007

Why should we eat all those fruits and veggies?

grilled veggies
Their benefits against gut cancer are minimal, as shown in a new overview of fourteen studies, but this is most likely not the point. Just because any healthist, hoping to prolong his life by eating healthy food, must be very disappointed by the facts that I am going to present here. But we should not care too much due to the fact that really delicious food, slow food, grande cuisine, is unconceivable without fruits and veggies.

The facts

Fourteen studies about fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of colon cancer with a total of more than seven hundred thousand men and women have been pooled for a new analysis; more than five thousand of these persons have been diagnosed with colon cancer. Conclusion of the authors:

"Fruit and vegetable intakes were not strongly associated with colon cancer risk overall but may be associated with a lower risk of distal colon cancer."
It is very interesting to see what “not strongly" means: In a hundred thousand who eat less than 200 grams (7 oz) fruit and veggies a day, 61 will get a colon cancer within a year, on statistical average. In a hundred thousand who eat at least 800 grams (28 oz) daily of fruit and veggies, this figure is somewhat lower but still 54 cases a year. Thus, for preventing one case of colon cancer, fourteen thousand years of switching from a low to a high fruit and vegetable intake is required. This is not what we call a reasonable effect. Only with the magnifying glass of a detailed analysis, the researchers have found that cancers in the most downward region of the gut, but not in other regions, may be prevented to a certain extent by a high fruit and vegetable intake.

What really matters

I think that this study should give us some sense of relief: All those telling you that you should stop to eat this and better eat that, have lost another piece of reason for their claims. Fruit and veggies are yummy, this is what matters. And a steak is also okay, see my earlier post about saturated fats. So we should welcome every null study about food, telling us that we should not eat by health prescriptions but learn to better enjoy high quality food and to let our natural feelings take control.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/caribb/274516861/

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