Author Topic: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?  (Read 762 times)

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Offline zendad

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Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« on: October 23, 2018, 12:30:01 PM »
Anyone know how credible the study this article is talking about is?   Or if the article represents the findings well?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/well/eat/can-eating-organic-food-lower-your-cancer-risk.html

-zd

Offline jt512

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2018, 12:35:32 PM »
Anyone know how credible the study this article is talking about is?   Or if the article represents the findings well?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/well/eat/can-eating-organic-food-lower-your-cancer-risk.html

-zd

I haven't read the paper, but Steve Novella just blogged about it.  He doesn't think there is much to it.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2018, 02:29:56 PM »
The fact that the study authors expected to find a reduction in cancer in people who eat organic food is a red flag for me, since numerous studies have shown no actual difference between organic and conventional foods other than the price tag. Since the authors admit to having been prejudiced towards a different outcome between effectively identical kinds of foods, I am prejudiced towards a belief that the study was probably poorly designed.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2018, 04:02:22 PM »
Organic food is more expensive than its conventional equivalent, so perhaps people who eat organic organic food, eat less and are therefore less likely to be fat, which is a risk factor for cancer, in particular breast cancer?

Or perhaps, because it’s more expensive, consumers are more likely to be affluent, which has a negative correlation with cancer risk, due to factors such as living in less polluted areas?

I assume the study controlled for variables between consumers of organic food and conventional food, but perhaps they didn’t?
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Online superdave

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2018, 07:38:50 PM »
totally have not read the study but it brings to mind something steve said once very early in the podcast.
if you have a large enough study you can find statistically significant results, but that doesn't make them medically significant.
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2018, 01:43:36 PM »
One could assume a healthy user bias; but not eating bread made from wheat that has been sprayed with herbicide to facilitate harvest or vegetables sprayed routinely with fungicide might be a good thing. But I live in a country that has strict organic certification standards and monitors producers (farmers, butchers, transport to retailers) routinely and harshly.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2018, 02:37:26 PM »
One could assume a healthy user bias; but not eating bread made from wheat that has been sprayed with herbicide to facilitate harvest or vegetables sprayed routinely with fungicide might be a good thing. But I live in a country that has strict organic certification standards and monitors producers (farmers, butchers, transport to retailers) routinely and harshly.

Well, one can assume a healthy user bias.  If you’re affluent enough to be able to afford the higher prices of organic food, then you’re probably going to be healthy.  Or you’re going to avoid other habits, which are unhealthy (such as smoking or drinking alcohol excessively).

But anyway.  Is there any data indicating that organic food consumers in New Zealand have a lower incidence of cancer than non-consumers?
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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2018, 03:04:13 PM »
One could assume a healthy user bias;

Aussie TV news was pretty good with explaining the healthy user bias (after leading with the "organic food lowers cancer" headline)

They explained that the group that ate organic fruit and vegetables ate more fruit and vegetables overall, compared to non-organic group and this more than likely explained the lower cancer risk.

They also highlighted how low that actual benefit was. 25% sounds high but when you're starting with a low number of people who got cancer in that group it was only about 1% of the group. Still statistically significant, but fully explainable by having a healthier total diet.

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2018, 04:15:00 PM »
One could assume a healthy user bias;

Aussie TV news was pretty good with explaining the healthy user bias (after leading with the "organic food lowers cancer" headline)

They explained that the group that ate organic fruit and vegetables ate more fruit and vegetables overall, compared to non-organic group and this more than likely explained the lower cancer risk.

They also highlighted how low that actual benefit was. 25% sounds high but when you're starting with a low number of people who got cancer in that group it was only about 1% of the group. Still statistically significant, but fully explainable by having a healthier total diet.

I don’t watch Aussie TV news (actually I don’t watch TV at all), but I’m surprised, actually pleased, that they actually explained the healthy user bias.  The news media is often superficial in its coverage.
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Online gmalivuk

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2018, 03:14:14 PM »
In a FB discussion about this same study, someone quoted a bit that said there wasn't a difference between low-quality, low-organic diets and high-quality, high-organic diets, but there was between low/medium-quality, low-organic diets and low/medium-quality, high-organic diets. (I didn't look into how quality was measured, but I suspect it probably had to do with overall healthfulness of the diets.

To me that suggests one of two things:
1) High-quality diets are carcinogenic enough to balance out the preventative effects of organics.
2) They did a bunch of different comparisons and the headlines are just reporting the few that stuck.

My brain says 2 is more likely but my stomach is leaning toward 1 because it means I can prevent cancer so long as all my junk food is organic.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Organic diet lowers cancer risk?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2018, 04:43:49 PM »
I don't think this study tells us much about organic diets.

But maybe it tells us about the assumptions made about what is a "quality diet," which is based on the French dietary guidelines, which are very similar to the USDA dietary guidelines.


Problems With That Organic Food and Cancer Study | NeuroLogica Blog


Quote
Combining both a high-quality diet and a high frequency of organic food consumption did not seem to be associated with a reduced risk of overall cancer compared with a low-quality diet and a low frequency of organic food consumption. Negative associations were found between the risk of cancer and combining both a low- to medium-quality diet and a high frequency of organic food consumption (eTable 6 in the Supplement).



Here's the abstract:
Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk: Findings From the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study | Cancer Screening, Prevention, Control | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Here's the full text:
‎www.regenhealthsolutions.info/4/upload/1_association_of_frequency_of_organic_food_consumption.pdf
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

 

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