There are many good reasons to eat more fish. But fish has no preventive effect against cancer, according to a comprehensive and long-term study.
Scientists from ten European countries have in more than 25 years collected inbound data on dietary habits and cancer risk. More than half a million men and women answered detailed questionnaires, and more than 400,000 submitted blood samples for a biobank.
The fish is neutral
The extensive material has subsequently been used to analyze the importance of diet. Norwegian researchers have looked at whether fish intake affects the risk of developing cancer. They have compared the intake of lean, half-lean and fatty fish with the number of participants in the survey who have developed various cancers.
– There are no studies showing that consumption of fish increases the risk of developing cancer. A few studies suggest that fish intake reduces the risk of some cancers, but the overall conclusion is that fish is a completely neutral nutrient, says professor of social medicine Eiliv Lund at UiT, Norway’s Arctic University.
– A lot we do not know
Wednesday he presented the conclusions of the European study during the opening of the seafood and Health Conference in Bergen Research Council in cooperation with the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund. Here, a number of researchers are going through the importance of the seafood for nutrition and food security.
– A closer collaboration between health researchers and scientists working with seafood will provide much valuable information. Here there is a lot we do not know, says director Hallén from Research Council.
Less caloric density
According Eiliv Lund there are many other reasons to eat fish than the belief that it can prevent cancer. The fish meat is pure protein, contain essential omega 3, selenium, iodine, D, A and E vitamins.
– The fish contains a lot of the nutrients we need. If you increase the intake of fish, it will replace other food. If you are afraid of developing cancer because you eat a lot of red meat, you can start eating fish. Then you are going over to something that is neutral, says Lund.
He also points out that it is much less caloric dense in fish than meat, pizza or anything else you would rather have eaten.
In 2006, the The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food stated that those who are pregnant should be encouraged to limit their intake of fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel. The reasoning was that fatty fish contain fat-soluble pollutants.
This was according to Eiliv Lund a wrong conclusion. The extensive European study reveals no effects of pollutants which have now been banned for a long time.
– When the total emissions in the world goes down, these pollutants also disappear slowly. Oily fish contains much less pollutants today than 20-30 years ago, and involves no risk, says Lund to news agency NTB.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today