Most cancers are caused by bad luck and genetic factors, with little evidence to link specific foods to the disease, according to one of the State’s leading food scientists.
Prof Mike Gibney, professor of food and health [at University College Dublin], said vested interests, “a lunatic fringe” in the US and “a few loopers in Ireland”, are “peddling” myths about the impact of particular foods on cancers.
In particular, claims that specific diets can cure cancer are “quack” remedies that have no foundation and lack any serious body of supporting scientific data, he warned.
Prof Gibney said there was no evidence associating the cause or prevention of cancer to organic food, pesticides, GM foods, additives or processing methods.
Random mutations and genes account for three-quarters of all cancers. The rest are due to environmental factors, principally sunshine, smoking and lifestyle issues (diet/alcohol/physical activity).
Prof Gibney said the best advice on diet and cancer was to have a healthy weight, be physically active, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and wholegrain foods. High salt meats, and alcohol, should be limited, and high-fat diets avoided.
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