Plant based diets & bowel cancer


This week’s paper was sent to me by two people, which does bump a topic up the ‘possible-to-do’ list. Many thanks to Isabel Hemmings, a nutritional therapist, and Caroline Walker for spotting this one. It was called “Plantbased dietary patterns defined by a priori indices and colorectal cancer risk by sex and race/ethnicity: the Multiethnic Cohort Study” and it was by Kim et al (Ref 1).

When I first looked at the paper I thought, haven’t I just done that one? The method reported “quintiles of three plant-based diet scores: overall plant-based diet index (PDI), healthful plant-based diet index (hPDI), and unhealthful plant-based diet index (uPDI).” I recalled having done a Monday note on healthy and unhealthy plants recently. I did and it was this one (Ref 2).

This looks like a new approach, therefore. Researchers are not just looking at plant-based foods vs animal-based foods; they are adding a subjective healthy vs unhealthy dimension on top. The findings of the previous note were that the healthy vs unhealthy complicated things rather than clarifying them. Higher plant intake was associated with lower mortality and higher healthy plant intake was associated with lower mortality, but higher UNhealthy plant intake was associated with higher mortality. Hence it could be concluded that any benefit comes from healthy food rather than plant food.

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