Fruits and vegetables

This is an archived article that was published on in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As a dietitian, I applaud The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board for calling on Congress to cut corn subsidies (Our View, Aug. 29). It's shocking that our government continues to heavily fund crops that, in their processed forms, become unhealthy foods, including high-fat meat and dairy products. These same products can increase cancer risk and contribute to obesity, a risk factor for cancer.

If funds for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program are increased by 20 times they'll still be more than 20 times less than the subsidies given to farmers who raise feed crops for animals. But this nutrition education program has been instrumental in increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables among school children who participate in the program. Consuming fruits and vegetables is one of the best weapons we have in the fight against cancer.

Studies have shown that people who regularly eat red or processed meat are up to 50 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than those who avoid meat. But following a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to reduce cancer risk. Congress should change the farm bill so it promotes sensible dietary choices that will benefit all Americans.

Jennifer K. Reilly

Senior nutritionist, The Cancer Project

Washington, D.C.