This week’s reaction to the large European study which followed people who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, reminds me of the studies and conclusions about how ineffective early diagnosis in breast and prostate cancer can be. We take these large studies and extend the statistics to patient’s individual lives. I bet my beloved dog, Finnegan, that eating lots of vegetables helps some people more than others. Have all of you been following Martina Navratilova’s very public experience with breast cancer? Docs discovered a very small cluster of cancer cells using new technology. That cluster has been removed, and Ms Navratilova is currently undergoing radiation treatments as an additional precaution. In this case, finding and removing her cancer was more than likely a good thing. But statistics show, by doing nothing, some woman would survive that cancer cluster anyway—that it would never develop into a life-threatening situation—and that doctors just performed an expensive, unnecessary and dangerous procedure. Would you want to take that chance? Martina didn’t! She is going from network to network, touting the virtues of early detection and promoting routine breast screening.

I view nutrition in the same way. We all need to eat more fruit and vegetables daily for a wide variety of reasons–the least of which is to prevent cancer. There are more questions here than answers. Sorry, but drinking V-8 Fusion—a processed mix of fruit juice and tomato concentrate–shouldn’t count as two of your five daily servings of vegetables. (That number should be 10+ servings anyway!) Think those Europeans were eating lots of steamed or boiled cabbage? Were they counting potatoes? What percentage of vegetables were consumed raw? Lots of questions—no real answers.

Am I rationalizing? Sure. But until you can prove to me that eating ten servings of raw, unprocessed fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables—apple juice, orange juice and a few veggies found in a can of soup shouldn’t count) each and every day isn’t good for your body’s immune system and helps slow the growth of cancer, I remain unconvinced.

Feel good, keep smiling and eat lots of raw vegetables—what can it hurt—and if might really, really help! Pat

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