Following a vegan diet (only eating plant-based foods and avoiding all animal products including meat, dairy and eggs) has gained a lot of attention in the last year.
There is no direct evidence that following a vegan diet reduces the risk of developing cancer. However, there are many characteristics of a healthy vegan diet that align with our Cancer Prevention Recommendations – such as eating lots of wholegrains, pulses, fruit and vegetables, and avoiding red and processed meat.1 This is not only because plant-based foods contain fibre, which protects against bowel cancer, but including more plant-based food in the diet can also help people to maintain a healthy weight – and being overweight or obese increases the risk of 12 types of cancer.2 We also know that eating red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer. There is no evidence to suggest consuming white meat or fish increases the risk of cancer.
World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Expert Report. Eat wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and beans. 2018.
World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Expert Report. Body fatness and weight gain and the risk of cancer. 2018.