Friday, 04 June 2010 05:59

Why do some vegetarians die of cancer?

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It is probably quite evident that my recent focus has been on health - I've changed my diet and I've been doing a lot of research on the effect of certain foods on the body. Many of my conversations with friends and family have centered around my new interests, and have led me to consider new possibilities. For instance, someone recently asked me,
If the vegetarian diet is thought to prevent cancer, then why did Linda McCartney die of breast cancer?
I was stumped - this was a very good question. There are many studies and personal anecdotes (like Crazy Sexy Cancer) that conclude that adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet can prevent and cure cancer.

On Linda McCartney:

  • Orion Watcher Health contributes her death to the amount of processed food she ate (she did, after all, have a line of frozen meals). "The number one problem with our diet is not really the use of animal products but rather the use of processed, technologically created 'food' products" [but] "even the perfect diet does not absolutely guarantee any of us a long and prosperous life."
  • What Doctors Don't Tell You states that "although the presumption is that the lower fat intake of vegetarians accounts for low levels of breast cancer, a pooled analysis of studies of fat intake and the risk of breast cancer showed no association".
  • Other explanations are that she didn't give up meat early enough, that cancer is simply hereditary, or perhaps because she wasn't a vegan and ate dairy & eggs.
This research is another example of why I drastically lowered my intake of gluten, soy, oil, and refined sugar. Though I have them in small amounts on occasion, they account for only 5% or less of my diet right now. 
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