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November 1, 1995

Learning How Phytochemicals Help Fight Disease

JAMA. 1995;274(17):1328-1330. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530170008003

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WHILE MANY organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and American Heart Association continue to recommend diets low in fat and high in fiber to reduce the chance of developing cancer and heart disease, it is becoming clear that research into the connection between foods and disease has moved onto a more sophisticated plane.

Detailed studies at the biochemical and even molecular level are providing new information about the role phytochemicals, the active compounds in dietary fruits and vegetables, play in preventing, and sometimes treating, malignant disease.

Most of this research has been done during the past 7 years, said Ritva R. Butrum, PhD, vice president of the American Institute for Cancer Research, who was interviewed during the group's annual meeting in Washington, DC. The meeting attracted some 400 scientists, the largest attendance in the history of the 12-year-old organization. "We are far from definitive findings, but I think

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