Fruit cuts cancer in men - but not women

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Indy Lifestyle Online

An apple a day keeps cancer away. An eight-year study in France has produced the clearest evidence yet that regular consumption of fruit and vegetables cuts the risk of cancer.

An apple a day keeps cancer away. An eight-year study in France has produced the clearest evidence yet that regular consumption of fruit and vegetables cuts the risk of cancer.

Although the beneficial effects of fruit and greens have been asserted by scientists before, the study is believed to be the first to test the theory on controlled groups of volunteers.

From 1994 to 2002, 6,500 men aged between 35 and 60 were asked to take daily doses of tablets containing vitamins C and E and anti-oxidising minerals, equivalent to a generous daily consumption of fruit and vegetables. Another 6,500 men were given placebo tablets.

The results of the Suvimax survey, published this week - part of a wider study of French eating habits - showed that men in the first group were 29 per cent less likely to develop cancers than those in the second group. Of the men who took the "fruit and vegetable" tablets, 88 developed cancers, compared with 124 of those who took placebos.

The survey produced another interesting finding. A similar controlled test was conducted with groups of French women of roughly the same age range. There was no significant difference in the number of cancers that developed in the two groups.

Anne Lecain, of the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer, said that this could suggest that men and women had different metabolisms. More likely, it reflected the fact that French women were already eating healthy quantities of fruit and vegetables because they were more concerned for their health than men.

Tablets were used in the experiment to ensure that all volunteers took roughly the same daily dose. The doctors emphasised that real fruit and vegetables would have been even more beneficial.

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