Eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables–the amount recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–doesn’t provide any additional protection against breast cancer, a new study finds. However, eating the recommended amount still appears to help protect against the disease. Doctors have been keen to determine whether increased amounts of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can reduce a woman’s risk even further.
To find out, John Pierce of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues tracked the health of more than 3000 women who had previously been treated for early-stage breast cancer. Half the women received literature promoting the FDA-approved target of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and the other half received this plus counseling and literature promoting significant additional intake of fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber coupled with a reduced-fat diet. After monitoring each volunteer for about 7 years, the researchers compared the rates of relapse and new breast tumors in the two groups, as they report this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In both categories, the rates were the same, indicating that subjects got no extra benefit from the additional produce.