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It’s hard to stop the progress of a cancer just with diet alone

According to the background to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (American) national guidelines recommend that “men with prostate cancer eat a vegetable-rich diet”, to which I first have to say that I had no idea that there were such things as “national” guidelines, only guidelines issued by specific health groups.

Anyway, the thing is that lots of authoritative groups that issue guidelines about all sorts of conditions including cancer generally do recommend changing to (as much as possible) a plant-based diet (not necessarily a vegan or a vegetarian one, but one significantly higher in veggie intake than the average North American likes to eat) to either prevent those conditions in the first place or to stop the progress of one of those health problems once it has set in, and cancer is arguably at the top of the list of conditions for which doctors – and perhaps even more, their patients – hope fervently that switching to more of a plant-based diet will stem cancers from progressing.

So it’s disappointing news for sure that in this 2-year-long study called the Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) study in which patients diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer were either randomized to a control group or to a program that encouraged them to eat way more foods high in carotenoids, such as leafy greens, carrots and tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, there was no detectable “extra protection” from the higher intake of veggies.

Eating more veggies diet didn’t harm the men, of course, and perhaps there were residual benefits in a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes (that’s been well-established by numerous studies) but alas, for the condition taht probably mattered most to these guys, there was no seeming benefit.