Throw-back Thursday. This blog was originally posted on AlaskaFit’s website back in 2010. However, the information, confusion and advice remain the same 8 years later.
What’s the latest headline in nutrition news? You won’t believe it when I tell you. “Eating Vegetables Doesn’t Stop Cancer“. Yup, that was a headline from the NY Times. Click here to read the article and tell me what you think. Are you surprised? Confused? Headlines like this are what keeps most Americans from eating more healthfully. There are, of course, a few flaws in the article.
- The results are “self-reported.” This means that participants (and there were over 470,000 of them, so it was sufficiently broad) reported to researchers on how many fruits and veggies they were eating during the 9-year average that they participated in the study. These types of studies are notoriously inaccurate. Chances are that at least some of the participants exaggerated how many fruits and veggies they were really eating.
- Although it’s a broad-based and “long-term” study, it is, only one study. There are many more studies that document the preventive power of consuming a diet high in fruits, veggies and fiber.
- The study does report a reduction in cancer rates, it’s just not a huge reduction…somehow this translates to the headline that veggies don’t stop cancer.
- The article tends to jump between the benefits of eating fruits and veggies to help with heart issues, but disparaging the effects on cancer prevention. This, in my opinion, simply adds to the confusion. Under a negative headline, the author touts benefits of eating fruits and veggies while saying they don’t really work.
The bottom line in the midst of all of this is that there is no “magic bullet” for anything. Not for cancer, heart disease, weight loss, fitness, happiness. The best thing you can do for yourself is tune in and listen to your body.
Will you generally feel better if you are eating more fruits and veggies? Yes!
Will eating more fruits and veggies improve your overall health? Yes!
If you’re feeling better and you’re healthier will you be happier? Yes!
When your mind and body are feeling good do you want to exercise? Yes!
Will this lead to better immune function? Yes!
All of these things work together to maximize our well-being. No, veggies don’t “cure” cancer and no single implementation of any strategy will “fix” you. But if you continue to do a little better today than you did yesterday…you’ll be doing great!
For more on this topic, check out this video on You Tube.