Who can you trust when it comes to what causes cancer?

Treat nutrition and cancer research cautiously.

ReutersThat was the title of a Reuters Health news article (see link below, 12-5-12). And why should we treat nutrition and cancer research cautiously? Because everything you read in the news or see on television is not necessarily true.

The Harvard School of Public Health

The Harvard School of Public Health

A new report from two professors at Stanford and Harvard respectively sheds some light on a big problem in this country. There is a ton of information coming at all of us continuously—so much information that we never really know what to believe.

In my own case back in 2002 when I first began studying about the “optimal diet for humans,” I found myself searching for legitimacy, credibility and authenticity. I was seeking to understand the “big picture” about food and found it difficult to do so in the early days. In the article, I thought Professor Fung summed up the problem very well:

“You have all these individual studies, and people are not getting together and trying to figure out what is going on in terms of the entire picture,” said Teresa Fung, a professor of nutrition at Simmons College in Boston.”It’s a system problem. It’s also how science is reported,” Fung, who also has an adjunct appointment at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Reuters Health.

StanfordThe researchers began their study by creating a list of 50 random food items. They then researched all the studies that had been done on those foods for the past 35 years. And most of what they found was based on weak evidence.

For 40 of the 50 food items, they found a total of 264 studies. And guess what, “Of those, 103 suggested the ingredient was tied to an increased risk of cancer, and 88 to a decreased risk.”

Confusion over clarity. That’s a phrase I picked up from The China Study in 2005 and I have been blogging about it for the past two years. Like profits over health, confusion over clarity is the way industry would prefer things to remain.

A confused food customer is a good food customer. That’s because after hearing conflicting advice enough times about a particular food, the average consumer is going to conclude that the scientists will never get it right—so she should just keep eating what she enjoys. In another quote from the article, the same case was made about too many studies but not enough “big picture” truths:

“We have seen a very large number of studies, just too many studies, suggesting that they had identified associations with specific food ingredients with cancer risk,” said Dr. John Ioannidis from the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California, who worked on the analysis. That back-and-forth can distract the public from associations that do have solid evidence behind them, such as the increased cancer risk tied to smoking or the beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables, he said.

Looking for clarity over confusion, read the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. --- Bill Clinton did and it probably saved his life.

Looking for clarity over confusion, read the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. — Bill Clinton did and it probably saved his life.

The Bottom Line. People everywhere are confused. That’s because they’ve never found the legitimacy, credibility and authenticity that I was seeking in 2002 through 2004.

Fortunately for me, I did—when I began to study the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Dean Ornish of the UCSF. After reading all of their works and the works of other pioneering medical doctors, I chose this simple definition of optimal nutrition:

The closer we get to eating a diet of whole, plant-based foods, the better off we will be. —T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Dr. Dean Ornish wrote the cover endorsement----and we filled the entire book with  a heavy dose of "big picture" CLARITY.

Dr. Dean Ornish wrote the cover endorsement—-and we filled the entire book with a heavy dose of “big picture” CLARITY.

And that “better off” includes all chronic diseases. We now know that we can easily prevent or reverse almost all of them—including many kinds of cancer. How much simpler could it be? When I saw this article, I sent a note to Dr. Campbell, asking if he had seen it. He wrote back:

I didn’t see it but it is SO TRUE! I have two reasons–one coming from enthusiastic marketers who manage to get the semblance of a study done, the other from people who don’t understand the limitations of reductionist research. Regards, Colin

Consecutive daily blogs

Consecutive daily blogs

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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