The EAT Lancet Diet & the EPIC Study

Introduction On June 21st, 2019, a paper was published in The Lancet entitled “EAT-Lancet score and major health outcomes: the EPIC-Oxford study” (Ref 1). The main paper and supplementary appendix are currently on open view, but grab them if you want to keep them, as The Lancet papers sometimes go from open to closed. The main paper is only one page long and the supplementary appendix is five pages long. The EAT Lancet report was published in January and I covered it here (Ref 2). The EPIC study stands for the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and it is an ongoing epidemiological study. “The Oxford component of EPIC is a prospective cohort of 57,500 men and women recruited throughout the United Kingdom in 1993—2000. Recruitment was targeted to include as many vegetarians as possible, and approximately 50% of the participants don’t eat meat. The main objective of the study is to examine how diet influences the risk of cancer, particularly for the most common types of cancer in Britain, as well as other chronic diseases” (Ref 3). I am one of the participants in the EPIC UK study. I was recruited in the 1990s when I was a member of the vegetarian society. I completed a food frequency and general health questionnaire when I was recruited and I recall completing one (maybe two) since, but nothing for many years. My last questionnaire was completed as a non-vegetarian. So if I now get cancer, is that assigned to my 20 years as a veggie or my (fewer than) 10 years as an omnivore? Welcome to the world of nutritional epidemiology.

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