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Does eating plants give us too much pollution/chemicals?

Answered by: Dr. Michael Greger

A new study calculated that if half the U.S. population ate just one more serving of conventional fruits and vegetables, 20,000 cases of cancer could be prevented. At the same time the added pesticide consumption could cause up to 10 extra cancer cases. So by eating conventional produce we may get a tiny bump in cancer risk, but that’s more than compensated by the dramatic drop in risk that accompanies whole food plant consumption. Even if all we had to eat was the most contaminated produce the benefits would far outweigh any risks. Having said that, why risk any bump at all? That’s one of the reasons I encourage everyone to choose organic whenever one can, but we should never let concern about pesticides lower our fruit and vegetable consumption.

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Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


2 responses to “Does eating plants give us too much pollution/chemicals?

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  1. I’m surprised that you didn’t mention how the only thing to replace plants with in the diet is meats and dairy which number are loaded with much more pollution and pesticides than the equivalent amount of plants. Bioaccumulation and the feeding of livestock byproducts to livestock add up fast

  2. I’m glad you tackled this.

    To me, the key takeaway message is that if all you can afford/find/get is conventionally grown food(s), it’s still better to eat them and reap the health benefits than worry about the potential pesticide residue.

    I would appreciate your take on GMO’s.

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