Posted: August 8, 2012

“Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”
– In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollen

Diet and Cancer: Is there a link?

Michael Pollen has written extensively about the kinds of food we eat. He targets junk food as a source of internal pollution. His manifesto challenges us to remake the way we eat:  “real” i.e. unprocessed food; in moderation, in defense of ideal body weight and the healthy lifestyle that slim promotes; and a diet based on fruits and vegetables rather than meat.  Pollen is a journalist, not a physician or scientist.  What can the medical and scientific communities contribute to this discussion?  How much if any of the discourse is based on evidence?  A mantra of modern medicine is that medical decisions and therapeutics should be evidence-based, that is, based on published studies that prove that something works. Is there an evidence-based healthier way to eat, and what health benefits can be accrued?  Can we prevent cancer and heart disease by eating differently?

A number of men in recent years have become wealthy and famous promulgating certain diets.  Dr. Robert Atkins comes to mind for his low-carbohydrate approach. Barry Sears takes Atkins to task with his Zone Diet and has some data to suggest that athletic performance can be improved in you adhere to his tenets. Is there a diet more scientifically based than either of these approaches?

+ Read more about diet and cancer and Dr. Stark’s comments at the BS757 blog.