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Friday, 5 December 2008


Vegetarianism, Veganism, and Cancer patients

You won't need to have cancer very long before it is suggested to you that a vegetarian or vegan diet will help to prevent recurrence, despite there not being a scrap of evidence to support such a claim.

There is limited evidence to support the idea that red meat is implicated in increased rates of bowel cancer, though cabbage family vegetables taken at the same time might protect you from the effect.

There is no evidence to support the idea that meat in general is implicated in cancer in general.

Not only is there no evidence to support the idea that meat might make cancer recur, any sort of dietary restriction not prescribed by a registered dietician is ill-advised for anyone receiving cancer treatment. Note that I said "Registered Dietician". Nutritionist, nutrician, and any other title is meaningless in this area. Even celebrity "nutritionists" like Gillian Mc Keith bought their qualifications on the internet.

When quack diets are pushed at the general public, we can mostly ignore it. But when seriously ill people are having their health endangered by poor diet advice, something needs to be said.

The real experts advise that cancer patients eat their normal diet, or the diet recommended by the Food Standards agency.Source. They do not recommend any sort of fad diet for the purposes of cancer prevention, or preventing cancer recurring.

The proponents of veganism usually go a step further than vegetarians. Veganism has no rational foundation, but is a sort or religion. It is an insufficient diet for a healthy person unless supplemented with vitamins, but vegans often make a number of unfounded claims for such a diet. There is no evidence to back any health claims made for a vegan diet. Veganism is also often linked to opposition to conventional medicine, and indeed any sort of rationality.

It is interesting to me that it is hardly ever pointed out that virtually nothing is linked to cancer more strongly than alcohol intake. Eighteen different cancers are linked to alcohol use, but none of those pushing fad diets ever seem to suggest moderating alcohol intake.

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