A Rebuttal of An Apple A Day and Other Myths from the NY Times

I’m always ready to hear the other side of the argument when it comes to just about anything. It’s how I operate. When I vote, I always listen to both sides and vote for the one who best represents me no matter what party they belong to. I”m the same way with everything else including my health. With that being said, here’s an article that presents the “flip side” of the nutrition vs cancer debate.  I’m going to be honest, I don’t agree. So, here is a rebuttal of an apple a day and other myths from the NY Times by, George Johnson. I’m sorry but I just cannot believe that what you eat does not affect your health and you’re overall cancer battle. In addition, I’ve read to much to the contrary.  I’ll talk about that below. Let’s start with a quote.

In the opening plenary session, Dr. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist who has spent many years studying cancer and nutrition, sounded almost rueful as he gave a status report. Whatever is true for other diseases, when it comes to cancer there was little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad. Read More

Often, I find that some doctors or scientists begin with a bias and then move forward in an effort to prove that bias. They “reason away” what they believe to be incorrect without being completely honest. Let’s consider a typical argument made by this crowd. People who eat more fruit and veggies are healthier, weight less and therefore less prone to cancer. Here’s a quote.

With even the most rigorous studies, it is hard to adjust for what epidemiologists call confounding factors: Assiduous eaters of fruits and vegetables probably weigh less, exercise more often and are vigilant about their health in other ways. Some of this can be sorted out with randomized controlled trials, with two large groups of people arbitrarily assigned different diets. But such studies are expensive, and the rules are hard to enforce in the short term — and probably impossible over the many years it can take for cancer to develop. Same Article 

What I’ve always noticed is that when you read these studies closer they are very specific. For example, the author talks about “fatty foods” but not how the meat is laden with growth hormones, how proteins encourage the growth of cells in the body, how sugar is cancer’s favorite food and worst of all…they don’t include opposing views. They use a very specific study to make a very broad and general statement. Here’s an example of what I consider dishonest reporting. Why? He links to the study made by the “World Cancer Research Fund” and says that the study all but reverses the idea that diet can prevent and maybe aid in the fight against cancer. Here’s another quote.

But there is a yawning divide between this nutritional folklore and science. During the last two decades the connection between the foods we eat and the cellular anarchy called cancer has been unraveling string by string. Same Article 

What he doesn’t tell you is that on the very same page is a list of recommended practices….one of them is to eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies. Here’s the front page and the link recommending a diet rich in plants to help prevent and maybe aid in your cancer fight. Here’s a quote from the second page. They are saying the exact opposite of what he says they are reporting.

Personal recommendations

  • Eat at least five portions/servings (at least 400 g or 14 oz) of a variety2 of non-starchy vegetables and of fruits every day
  • Eat relatively unprocessed cereals (grains) and/or pulses (legumes) with every meal3
  • Limit refined starchy foods
  • People who consume starchy roots or tubers4 as staples also to ensure intake of sufficient non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and pulses (legumes)

Things like this really bother me. They bother me as much as those people who say they “beat cancer” naturally but in reality beat cancer with the aid of traditional methods like chemo or surgery along with whatever natural therapies they tried. It’s deceptive in either case and should be shunned. This isn’t about ego or making money or about writing an interesting article or blog post. It’s about helping people fight or prevent cancer and to be deceptive is morally wrong in either case.

Supporting Evidence

Let’s look at some evidence that supports plant based diets and our fight against cancer. First, you might want to read my post about how these studies are done. It’s titled “In Vitro vs. In Vivo Testing and What it Measn to Your Cancer Fight”  It’s a really good read and will open your eyes. So, the next time somebody tells you to eat 200 figs a day because a study was done and it turns out they kill cancer you will be ready and educated. If you want to skip the article here’s the video from the article. It’s worth watching.


I think this video alone really makes a great argument for linking diet and your cancer fight. Here’s another video about which veggies fight cancer best. Please notice that all of the data is scientifically collected and documented in the videos.


It’s just my opinion but, I think the author of this article had a predisposition toward one belief and I think it shows in his lack of real evidence. He even deliberately clouds the issue when he talks about the doctors chowing down on fatty roast beef at the anticancer convention. In my opinion, he put that in the article to sway you. Hey, if doctors can eat that way…well….heck….what’s the big deal. The only problem is that, when you think about it, I’m sure you can think of a doctor that is fat or smokes or doesn’t exercise or drinks like a fish.  The fact that a doctor makes a bad choice doesn’t qualify as good science or even a good argument supporting his conclusion. I am truly disappointed with the NY Times and with this article in general. What do you think?

Stay healthy and eat healthy, Ed – To find out how to use my images on your blog for free – Click Here



  1. this article you’re quoting seems irresponsible. People grab onto whatever seems to support whatever decisions they choose to make. Seems more like an opinion that fact supported research.

  2. Hi Ed,
    You can tell by a persons skin just glancing at it what kind of diet they eat. Bad diet bad looking skin good diet good skin. That says it all for me.

    • Hmmm….that makes sense except when you’re sick. My skin is pasty white……not like it used to be and I really try to eat right.

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