Organic food: a 25% reduction in cancer risks

This is what reveals an epidemiological study, published today on 16 October 2017 in JAMA Internal Medicine, thanks to the analysis of a sample of 68 946 participants .

Organic food is characterized by products from production methods without phytosanitary products and synthetic inputs. The benefit of choosing these products in the everyday diet had not yet really been measured. It’s done. During the 7 years of follow-up (2009 – 2016) of the Nutrinet-Santé cohort, 1 93 new cancer cases were recorded and validated on the basis of medical records of the people being followed. This represents a 24% decrease in cancer risk (all types combined) observed among “regular” consumers of organic food compared to more occasional consumers. Although the cause and effect link cannot be established on the basis of this study alone, the results suggest that a diet rich in organic foods could limit the incidence of cancer.

Organic food: 68 946 people followed

Researchers from the Sorbonne Paris Cité Epidemiology and Statistics research center have conducted an epidemiological study based on the analysis of a sample of 50 946 participants (76% of women, average age 44 years) of the French NutriNet-Santé cohort. Their data relating to the consumption of organic or conventional foods were collected at inclusion, using a consumption frequency questionnaire (never, from time to time, most of the time) for 16 food groups. Sociodemographic, lifestyle or nutritional characteristics were also taken into account in this analysis.

Less breast cancer and lymphomas

This association was particularly marked for breast cancer in postmenopausal women (- 34% risk, high versus low bio score) and lymphomas (- 76% risk). Taking into account various risk factors that could impact this relationship (socio-demographic factors, diet, lifestyle, family history) did not change the results.

Fewer pesticides, more nutrients in organic foods

Several hypotheses could explain these data: the presence of synthetic pesticides much more frequent and at higher doses in foods from conventional agriculture, compared to organic foods.

Another possible explanation: potentially higher levels of certain micronutrients ( antioxidants carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamin C or more beneficial fatty acid profiles) in organic foods.

Favor organic products in diet

The conclusions of this study must be confirmed by other investigations carried out on other study populations, in different ts contexts. Nevertheless, these results support the recommendations of the High Council of Public Health (HCSP) issued in 2016 for the future dietary benchmarks of the National Nutrition Health Program ( PNNS) aiming to favor foods grown according to production methods that reduce exposure to pesticides for fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grain products.

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