EPIC Findings on Lymphoma

EPIC Findings on Lymphoma
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In a study of a half million people, which was most associated with the risk of developing lymphoma? Red meat, processed meat, poultry, offal, eggs, or milk?

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Yes, the incidence of all malignant cancers combined was lower among fish-only eaters and vegetarians, compared to the healthy meat-eaters. But the most striking difference between the dietary groups was in the risk for the group of cancers that include lymphomas and myeloma. Since they factored out other lifestyle differences between the meat-eaters and vegetarians—similar smoking; exercise; weight; fruit and veggie consumption—they concluded that meat itself may be the culprit, potentially due to the mutagenic compounds or viruses in meat. But that raises the question: what type of meat?

To get at that level of detail, you would need to look at a lot of people, so they enrolled the help of not just any study, but the EPIC study. EPIC, the largest forward-looking study on diet and cancer in human history, following a half million people for over ten years now.

What type of meat was the worst? They looked at red meat (beef and pork), processed meat (like bacon, ham, and sausage), poultry (chicken and turkey), also offal, which, true to its name, means entrails and organs—in practical terms, that’s liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, blood, thymus, brains, stomach, feet, tongue, tail, as well as the head, and eyeballs. They also looked at eggs and dairy.

Which was most significantly associated with the risk of developing lymphoma? Red meat, processed meat, poultry, offal, eggs, or milk?

It was poultry consumption—associated with a significantly increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, all grades of follicular lymphoma, B-cell lymphomas in general, including B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia, including small lymphocytic leukemia and prolymphocytic lymphocytic leukemia.

Up to triple the rates for every 50 grams of daily poultry consumption. A cooked chicken breast averages over 200 grams; so that’s for just a quarter of a chicken breast worth of poultry.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Rainer Zen, MCB,  Sun Ladder, Amidelalune, Carsten Niehaus, and Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia Commons.

Yes, the incidence of all malignant cancers combined was lower among fish-only eaters and vegetarians, compared to the healthy meat-eaters. But the most striking difference between the dietary groups was in the risk for the group of cancers that include lymphomas and myeloma. Since they factored out other lifestyle differences between the meat-eaters and vegetarians—similar smoking; exercise; weight; fruit and veggie consumption—they concluded that meat itself may be the culprit, potentially due to the mutagenic compounds or viruses in meat. But that raises the question: what type of meat?

To get at that level of detail, you would need to look at a lot of people, so they enrolled the help of not just any study, but the EPIC study. EPIC, the largest forward-looking study on diet and cancer in human history, following a half million people for over ten years now.

What type of meat was the worst? They looked at red meat (beef and pork), processed meat (like bacon, ham, and sausage), poultry (chicken and turkey), also offal, which, true to its name, means entrails and organs—in practical terms, that’s liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, blood, thymus, brains, stomach, feet, tongue, tail, as well as the head, and eyeballs. They also looked at eggs and dairy.

Which was most significantly associated with the risk of developing lymphoma? Red meat, processed meat, poultry, offal, eggs, or milk?

It was poultry consumption—associated with a significantly increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, all grades of follicular lymphoma, B-cell lymphomas in general, including B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia, including small lymphocytic leukemia and prolymphocytic lymphocytic leukemia.

Up to triple the rates for every 50 grams of daily poultry consumption. A cooked chicken breast averages over 200 grams; so that’s for just a quarter of a chicken breast worth of poultry.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Rainer Zen, MCB,  Sun Ladder, Amidelalune, Carsten Niehaus, and Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia Commons.

Doctor's Note

Why was there so much more lymphoma and leukemia risk among those eating just a small serving of chicken a day? That’s the subject of Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?. And see Vegetarians Versus Healthy Omnivores for a discussion of overall cancer rates. The EPIC study also compared obesity rates in omnivores, flexitarians, vegetarians, and vegans. See Thousands of Vegans Studied.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Poultry and Penis CancerPoultry Paunch: Meat & Weight GainTreating an Enlarged Prostate With DietEating Green to Prevent CancerHow To Reduce Dietary Antibiotic Intake; and How Tumors Use Meat to Grow.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

17 responses to “EPIC Findings on Lymphoma

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  1. Why was there so much more lymphoma and leukemia risk among those eating just a small serving of chicken a day? That’s the subject of my next NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day (coming on Monday). And see yesterday’s video for a discussion of overall cancer rates. The EPIC study also compared obesity rates in omnivores, flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans. See Thousands of Vegans Studied. There are also hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.




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    1. Dr. Greger did say the study had some interesting findings that he would address later before he quoted the conclusion in the previous video “Vegetarians Versus Healthy Omnivores”. I take that as meaning he will address that issue over the course of the next week.

      It does appear to contradict all of the common risk factors, though. “Low fiber, high fat diets. Sedentary lifestyle. Obesity. Diabetes. Smoking, and alcohol consumption” are a number of risk factors provided by the Mayo Clinic that usually aren’t attributes of vegetarians. Old age is a risk factor, perhaps mean age was higher for the vegetarian participants? Perhaps the excessive low calorie handicap (just as much fruits/veggies as omnivores) played a role. Inflammatory bowel diseases are a risk factor, which could be related to grain consumption in the vegetarian group assuming they had a gluten intolerance or celiac, diagnosed or not. There are a number of possible confounding variables, but I haven’t bothered to spoil the fun of this video series by checking myself.




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    1. yes, even when you are purchasing your chickens with those labels on them the risk factors still apply. they still have the same saturated fats and cholesterol in it. it also has to do with the fecal matter the animals live in and around “cage free” doesnt mean they have much more space to move around and “organic” just means they are fed organic food.




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  2. But, Dr. Greger, don’t tell me I have to give up eating my tails and eyeballs. I just love them! Jus’ kiddin’ this is another magnificent vid from you. Thanks!




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  3. Have you done any videos on vegans having low white blood cell counts? My white blood cell count is 2.7 and they are sending me to an oncologist and hematologist. I hear it is common in the plant based community to be send to these specialists for low white blood cell counts.




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  4. Was the amount of antibiotics and other synthetic chemicals in the chicken considered? The healthiest people on the planet eat plenty of animal products. Check out westonaprice.org.




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    1. chw777: The Weston Price Foundation sounds legitimate and catches a lot of lay people. However, that group is notorious for giving out misinformation. It is filled pseudo science and outright wrong info. The Foundation does not even accurately represent the views of Weston Price as he wrote them down. If you want to learn about the ways in which you have been lied to, the following videos about the Weston Price foundation and their claims are very helpful. http://plantpositive.com/display/Search?moduleId=19496100&searchQuery=weston+price
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      After you watch a video or two from the list on the left, notice the list of videos on the right. You will see that that website also includes a whole lot of information about societies which eat a lot of meat, such as the Innuit. Even ancient Innuit mummies show signs of heart disease and cancer. And that’s not even from a very old person. Do not be fooled by the Plant Positive website name. The videos are a great scholarly work which are supported by the actual science.
      .
      Since you expressed an interest in the healthiest societies on the planet, I thought I would mention the Blue Zones, which are largely plant based cultures. The traditional Okinawans are one of the 4 blue zone cultures. They have one of the highest 100+ populations (and going strong at that age too). And here’s the point, the traditional Okinawans had less than 4% of their calories from animal products. If you want some quick info about the Okinawans and their diet, here is a very short NutritionFacts video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/
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      If you are still with me, I highly recommend a summary video from NutritonFacts a great way to start to learn about the science of nutrition. It’s fun and a real eye opener: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/ There are three other summary videos on the home page if you want to get 100% caught up.




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  5. What was the source of the meats and poultry …factory farmed? This would be a key factor in these studies. What did the study have in place for controls; Smokers, non-smokers, excessive alcohol intake, sedentary/active lifestyle, levels of stress, sleep habits.




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  6. Stands to reason that eliminating poultry from the diet of someone who has non-hodgkins lymphoma could improve the condition??? since follicular especially tends to ebb and flow?? Thoughts??




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