A new large-scale study financed by the World Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK discovered that eating a vegetarian or vegan diet is connected with a lower risk of acquiring cancer when compared to eating meat, especially fish.
The Oxford-based researchers looked into the link between nutrition and cancer risk by examining data from over 472,000 British people acquired from the UK Biobank between 2006 and 2010.
This comes just a few weeks after the European Parliament urged the EU to encourage a plant-based diet to combat cancer.
The participants indicated how frequently they ate meat and were divided into four categories based on their diet type, as follows:
1st Group: Meat eaters regularly (those who ate meat more than five times a week)
2nd Group: consists of a small number of meat-eaters (those who ate meat five times or less per week)
3rd Group: Pescatarians (those who ate fish and plant-based food
4th Group- Vegetarians those who diet free of all meat
All participants were cancer-free when they were recruited, and they were monitored for more than 11 years to see if any occurred.
During the duration of the trial, 12% of the participants, or 54,961 persons, got cancers ranging from prostate cancer to postmenopausal breast cancer.
Being a low meat-eater was connected with a 2% decreased risk of cancer when compared to frequent meat-eaters. Meanwhile, pescatarians had a 10% lower risk and vegetarians had a 14% lower chance of developing cancer.
In terms of specific cancer forms, the researchers discovered the following:
When compared to regular meat-eaters, low-meat eaters had a 9% reduced chance of acquiring colon cancer.
Compared to meat-eaters, vegetarian women were 18% less likely to develop postmenopausal breast cancer.
Vegetarian men had a 31% decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Men who ate fish had a 20% decreased incidence of prostate cancer.
While the researchers discovered that being a low meat-eater, pescatarian, or vegetarian was connected with a decreased risk of all cancers, smoking and body mass index may also play a role.
The study concludes that some dietary habits, such as limiting meat intake or eating a vegetarian diet, can help lower the incidence of certain malignancies.
This is consistent with the World Cancer Research Fund’s long standing recommendation that people consume less red and processed meat and more entire foods including fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and pulses.