Doubts raised over low fat diet cancer study

In collaboration with the Press Association

A study claiming that having a diet low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables does not reduce the risk of breast or bowel cancer has been questioned by leading health campaigners, including Cancer Research UK.

The research, carried out by the Women's Health Initiative in the US and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, studied 50,000 post-menopausal women for up to eight years and found that low fat diets did not give greater protection against cancer.

However, a spokesperson for Cancer Research UK pointed out that most of the women on the study were already at high risk of cancer, with nearly two in five being clinically obese.

This fact, said Dr Emma Knight, a Senior Information Officer at the charity, would have meant that any impact due to diet would be difficult to see over the study period.

"The relationship between diet and cancer is very complicated, with many lifestyle factors muddying the waters," added Dr Knight.

"Taking all the current evidence together, Cancer Research UK continues to recommend that people eat a healthy balanced diet, with lots of fruit and veg."