Vegetarians suffer from far fewer cancers than do meat eaters, a new study has discovered. People who mainly eat fish are also more likely to stay cancer-free.
Surprisingly, the one cancer that was far higher among vegetarians was colorectal, a disease that's usually associated with eating red meat.
Researchers from Oxford University made their discoveries when they assessed the health of 52,700 people, who were divided into their dietary types of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Most participants from all the dietary groups were meeting the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and the meat eaters were eating only moderate amounts.
Nonetheless, the researchers say the level of cancers among the vegetarians and fish eaters was significantly lower compared with meat-eaters. The researchers were surprised by the higher incidence of colorectal cancer among the vegetarians.
(Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736L).