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No Evidence that Organic Foods Lower Cancer Risk, Oxford Researchers Say

Mar 28, 2014 08:30 AM EDT
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Eating organic foods doesn't cut cancer risk in women, according to a new study from Oxford University.

The study, conducted by Kathryn Bradbury and colleagues in Oxford's Cancer Epidemiology Unit, found no link between organic food consumption and cancer risk in women.

Organic foods are the overpriced fruits and vegetables marketed as more nutritious than conventionally grown food. Previous research by Stanford University had found that despite the hype, there is no evidence that these foods are healthier than other foods.

The study was based on medical records of 600,000 women aged 50 and above. All the women were part of the Million Women Study and had answered a questionnaire about their diet and whether they ate organic food.

Researchers then looked at the number of women who developed one of 16 types of cancers during the nine-year study. Medical records showed that around 50,000 women in the study developed some type of cancer.

The team found no evidence that eating organic food can lower cancer risk.

"In this large study of middle-aged women in the UK we found no evidence that a woman's overall cancer risk was decreased if she generally ate organic food," said Professor Tim Key of the University of Oxford, according to a news release.

Of course, eating organic food reduces exposure to harmful pesticides.

"This study adds to the evidence that eating organically grown food doesn't lower your overall cancer risk. But if you're anxious about pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables, it's a good idea to wash them before eating," said Dr Claire Knight, Cancer Research UK's health information manager.

The Million Women Study is funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council. The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer.

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