Fruits and Vegetables – Is the age-old advice wrong?

Fruits and Vegetables – Is the age-old advice wrong?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 20:24

I am writing in response to a scientific study that you may have read about. Media outlets everywhere have been trumpeting the finding that fruits and vegetables give no protective effect or in any way reduce cancer!!! Interesting, to say the least. I hear that many nutritionists and dietitians are still trying to pick themselves up from the floor! My intention here, is not to discount or lightly dismiss such a study. In fact, the finding does not surprise me in the least…now don’t fall off your own chair! It’s not that I don’t think fruit and vegetables (assuming they are fresh and still contain a high level of the natural intelligence they are born with), contribute substantially to cancer protection, but the fact due to the nature of modern scientific research, in any isolated individual study, it can produce almost any result. Unfortunately, none of the media outlets I heard from, even bothered to mention what the actual research design or method of results analysis etc was. So, we are none the wiser, whether it was good science or not. Even assuming that it was a well conducted study, have you ever heard the media proclaim that something is good because of ABC, then 6 months later say that the exact same thing is dangerous because of XYZ? Red wine, chocolate, dairy etc are all evil one year and promoted as ‘angels from heaven’ the next after a single study or research finding. Artificial sweeteners, Soy products, cholesterol lowering spreads are hailed as ‘food of the Gods’ one minute and then attacked from pillar to post the next!!!


If you want to rely on modern research for guidance regarding your health, I suggest you never base your decisions on any single, isolated study. If you are going to use modern science, look for large numbers of studies that all point in the same direction…i.e. indicate the same global results…over time. Also, look at the longest-lived, healthiest people & cultures in the world (what I’ve done in my book) and see what they do. This is much more valid and powerful than any individual study.

So Do Fruit & Vegetables Protect Against Cancer?

While it is important to take the recent study into account, it is more important to look at ALL research studies on this subject over time to get a true indication. Throughout the many decades of previous research, the large majority of well conducted studies have indicated a strong correlation between a predominantly plant-based diet (i.e. fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes etc), and significant reductions in the incidence of not only most cancers, but most other serious chronic diseases as well.

The China Study:

If you truly think fruit & vegetables (plant-based foods) do not provide a defence against disease/cancer etc, and that a meat based diet in no way increases your chance of disease, I CANNOT ENCOURAGE YOU STRONGLY ENOUGH TO READ ‘THE CHINA STUDY. It’s the best modern science book I’ve ever read! The China study is ‘the’ most comprehensive study of diet, lifestyle and disease ever done with humans in the history of biomedical research. It was a collaboration between Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. The New York Times called it the ‘Grand Prix of Epidemiology’. Whereas most scientific studies, are lucky to produce a handful of statistically significant associations (the basis of valid results), the China study resulted in over 8000 such statistically significant associations.

The Results:

The overall conclusion, by Professor Colin T. Campbell, the author and director of the China Study…That pretty well all serious diseases, from heart disease to diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease to various cancers are all “convincingly influenced by diet”. ‘And the diet that has time and again been shown to reverse and/or prevent these diseases is a whole foods, plant-based diet’. The people that eat the most plant-based, whole foods and least animal protein, get less disease. The people that eat the most animal protein & least plant-based whole foods get the most disease.

Note 1:

Professor Campbell grew up on a dairy farm and started out in science actively researching the value of ‘protein rich (animal based) diets. If he was biased, he was strongly biased towards the benefits of an animal-based diet. The evidence was so strong against such a diet, he himself switched to a whole food, plant-based diet.

Note 2:

Of course, this is not to say, eating fruits and vegetables, is a guarantee of preventing cancer. The other factor, modern scientific studies, by their very nature, fail to account for, is all the other innumerable factors that influence health or disease. Exercise, digestion, the ‘quality’ (not just the type) of food, sunlight, and more importantly, things like emotional health/stress, environmental carcinogens, exposure to radiation, one’s karma! etc, amongst other things can all play significantly roles in health or disease. Health, wellbeing, cancer or any disease/illness is rarely the result of one isolated factor, but is the overall result of many influences.


1. Plant-based diets (i.e. fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes etc), offer significant reductions in incidence of not only most cancers, but most other serious chronic diseases as well. There is almost no more clear-cut results in the history of science when you look at all the good science collectively over decades, rather than one isolated study.
2. If you want to rely on modern research for guidance regarding your health, I suggest you never base your decisions on any single, isolated study. If you are going to use it, look for consensus – i.e. where a large numbers of studies or research findings over time, all suggest the same results.

3. As always, ask yourself “Is this how Nature designed things?” “Is it natural?” If it’s natural, and part of Mother Nature’s exquisite design (which fruit & vegies are), you can always be pretty sure it’s good for you, regardless of what ‘science’ says.


Campbell, Colin.T & Campbell, Thomas.M – ‘The China Study, The Most Comprehensive Study on Nutrition Ever Conducted’ – 2006.
ISBN – 1-932100-66-0
* Can be ordered from Amazon. Enjoy!

Mark Bunn

Mark Bunn – is a leading natural health researcher specialising in Ayurvedic medicine, author of the three-time best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘ and one of Australasia's most popular health and performance speakers.  Mark is also CEO of David Lynch Foundation Australia.