Avoiding Some Food No Proven Assurance of Avoiding Cancer

CHICAGO—Results of food consumption data studied and published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association are not a complete review of factors considered to influence the risk of contracting cancer. Thus, these foods should not be interpreted in haste as a threat to public health, according to the international, not-for-profit scientific society Institute of Food Technologists.

The study on the consumption of red meat and the separate study on consumption of fruits and vegetables each openly state neither includes data on its participants’ family history of colon, rectal, breast or other cancers, a significant limitation that authors declare could skew results. Furthermore, the latter study acknowledges that no data was reviewed to assess whether nutrients gained from a diet high in fruits and vegetables affected positively the rate of breast cancer among participants susceptible to the disease.

“It is important to note that information in the meat study provided by participants who showed higher rates of cancer also self-reported higher levels of at-risk lifestyle choices,” says C. Ann Hollingsworth, Ph.D., past-president of IFT. “These factors included smoking, little or no physical activity, eating little or no fruits, vegetables, or whole grains, and more.”

Hollingsworth calls attention to JAMA’s accompanying editorial, which calls this research inconclusive. The meat study also specifically references other reputable studies that show no correlation between the consumption of meats and increased cancer risk, she says.

IFT favors analysis of long-term studies on diet, lifestyle choices and genetic history and their combined effect on public health and disease, an opinion echoed in the JAMA editorial.


Founded in 1939, and with world headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, USA, the Institute of Food Technologists is a not-for-profit international scientific society with 26,000 members working in food science, technology and related professions in industry, academia and government. As the society for food science and technology, IFT brings sound science to the public discussion of food issues. For more on IFT, see www.ift.org.

James N. Klapthor, Media Relations Manager
Phone: 312/782-8424 ext. 231
E-mail: [email protected]

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