London: If you thought your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day was keeping cancer at bay, think again.
Consuming them will not protect you from cancer as they have little effect compared with alcohol and obesity, according to a new study.
The review looks at a decade of evidence on the links between fruit and vegetables and the development of cancer, but it concludes that the evidence is still not convincing.
Researchers discovered that only diet-related factors that definitely affect cancer risk are obesity and alcohol.
Tobacco is still the single biggest cause of cancer.
While smoking increases the risk of cancer by as much as 50 fold, even large consumptions of fruit and vegetable will only reduce the risk by a maximum of 10 per cent.
Professor Tim Key, an epidemiologist from Oxford University, said that while there are undoubted benefits in eating fruit and vegetables there is little hard evidence that they protect against cancer.
But the evidence is indisputable that cancer is strongly linked to being overweight or obese, and drinking more alcohol than the recommended daily limits.
“Fruit and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and a good source of nutrients,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"But so far the data does not prove that eating increased amounts of fruit and vegetables offers much protection against cancer.
“But there’s strong scientific evidence to show that, after smoking, being overweight and alcohol are two of the biggest cancer risks,” he added.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.