CHICAGO – Hopes that a diet low in fat and chock-full of fruits and vegetables could prevent the return of breast cancer were dashed Tuesday by a large, seven-year experiment in more than 3,000 women.
The government study found no benefit from a mega-veggies-and-fruit diet over the U.S. recommended servings of five fruits and vegetables a day – more than most Americans get.
Researchers noted that none of the breast cancer survivors lost weight on either diet. That led some experts to suggest that weight loss and exercise should be the next frontier for cancer prevention research. The study appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
“It sends us back to the drawing board,” said Susan Gapstur of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the new study but co-wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal.
“Should we really have focused on dietary components like fruits, vegetables and fat?” Gapstur asked. “Or should we be focusing, in addition to diet, on lifestyle factors including physical activity and weight?”
For now, the message for the 2.4 million breast cancer survivors in the United States is that they don’t need to go overboard on veggies, researchers said.
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