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A diet high in fruit, vegetables, and fibre did not improve survival for women with early breast cancer in a large randomised trial (n=3088). The women had cookery lessons and counselling to enable them to increase their daily intake to five servings of vegetables, three servings of fruit, and 30 g of fibre. They were also meant to reduce their fat intake to less than 20% of total calories, but they didn't manage to. Their chances of a recurrence, a new primary breast cancer, or death were almost identical to a control group of women who were advised to eat the standard five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Just over 10% of each group died during the 7.3 year follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio 0.91, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.15, P=0.43). Just under 17% of each group had a recurrence or a new primary (0.96, 0.80 to 1.14, P=0.63)P=0.63).
Although the two groups of women had very different diets throughout the study, they both averaged the same modest weight gain. Perhaps it's weight loss not fruit and vegetables that makes the difference, says a linked editorial (p 335). In a previous large trial, women who ate a low fat diet and lost weight survived significantly longer than controls.