- Current dietary guidelines in the U.S. propose health benefits, including for prostate cancer patients, from a diet rich in vegetables. However, recent studies contradict this, showing no additional protection against prostate cancer from a vegetable-rich diet.
- The study had 478 participants, all men aged between 50 and 80, previously diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. They were either assigned to a control group or a counseling group that was encouraged to consume foods high in carotenoids.
- After a two-year follow-up period, there was no significant difference in prostate cancer progression between the group consuming a vegetable-rich diet and the control group. This result was documented in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- The lead investigator of the study, Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons, stated that although consuming more vegetables does not modify the trajectory of prostate cancer progression, a healthy diet and physical activity might make the body stronger in tolerating cancer treatments.
Despite the widely held belief that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can slow down or cure prostate cancer, recent research says otherwise.
Prevailing Dietary Guidelines for Prostate Cancer Patients
Existing dietary guidelines in the U.S suggest potential health benefits, especially for prostate cancer patients, from consuming a diet rich in vegetables.
The Study and Its Participants
The study comprised 478 participants, all men aged between 50 and 80, previously diagnosed with the early stages of prostate cancer. These subjects were under close observation, known as active surveillance, and were not provided with any treatment unless their condition began to show signs of deterioration.
Participants were assigned randomly to either a control group, which received dietary and prostate cancer written information, or a counseling group via telephone that was encouraged to include foods high in carotenoids in their diet. Such foods typically include leafy greens, carrots and tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage.
Outcome of the Study
After a follow-up period of two years, there were no additional protections against prostate cancer observed in the group consuming a vegetable-rich diet when compared to the control group. The findings were documented in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
This study is presented as the first randomized clinical trial to evaluate the influence of dietary alterations on prostate cancer.
“Findings from our research show that contrary to popular scientific and public opinion, consuming more vegetables does not modify the progression trajectory of prostate cancer. To the best of our knowledge, it neither suppresses nor cures it,” stated lead investigator Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons, a professor of urology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
However, he also added, “While consuming a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity does not cure cancer, it might make the body stronger and healthier, aiding patients in tolerating cancer treatments.”
The American Cancer Society provides further information on prostate cancer.