Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France have found that the Mediterranean diet reduces cancer risk. The researchers studied 142,605 men and 335,873 women. They graded adherence to the Med diet with a 0-9 score. Among the whole population, 9,669 men contracted cancer and 21,062 women contracted cancer.
They found that a two point better Med diet score resulted in a 4% reduction in cancer. The results cancelled out cancers relating to smoking.
The Med diet is known for its reduced intake of red meats, and increased intakes of fruits, vegetables, monounsaturated fats and low levels of saturated fats.
This study was the first to analyze the association between the Med diet and cancer risk overall. Other studies have found that the Med diet reduces risk in particular cancers. For example, a study done in the fall of 2010 by researchers from Spain’s Programme of Epidemilogical Cancer Research in Barcelona of of 519,978 human participants from 23 centers among 10 European countries – Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They found that gastric cancer was associated with red and processed meats, and lower risk was evident among those with higher plasma levels of phytonutrients (plant nutrients). They found that lung cancer was lower among those who ate more fruits and vegetables, even among smokers. They found that higher breast cancer incidence was related to higher saturated fat consumption. They found that higher consumption of dairy protein and calcium from dairy products, along with high serum concentration IGF-I (found higher among dairy and cattle given growth hormones) were all associated with increased incidence of prostate cancer.
Couto E, Boffetta P, Lagiou P, Ferrari P, Buckland G, Overvad K, Dahm CC, Tjønneland A, Olsen A, Clavel-Chapelon F, outron-Ruault MC, Cottet V, Trichopoulos D, Naska A, Benetou V, Kaaks R, Rohrmann S, Boeing H, von Ruesten A, Panico S, Pala V, Vineis P, Palli D, Tumino R, May A, Peeters PH, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Büchner FL, Lund E, Skeie G, Engeset D, Gonzalez CA, Navarro C, Rodríguez L, Sánchez MJ, Amiano P, Barricarte A, Hallmans G, Johansson I, Manjer J, Wirfärt E, Allen NE, Crowe F, Khaw KT, Wareham N, Moskal A, Slimani N, Jenab M, Romaguera D, Mouw T, Norat T, Riboli E, Trichopoulou A. Mediterranean dietary pattern and cancer risk in the EPIC cohort. Br J Cancer. 2011 Apr 26;104(9):1493-9.
Gonzalez CA, Riboli E. Diet and cancer prevention: Contributions from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Eur J Cancer. 2010 Sep;46(14):2555-62.
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