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Monday, April 26, 2010


Regular readers of Natural Health News are aware of the concerns we have raised over "cause marketing".

I am very pleased that Dr. Moss has also recognized this serious issue and I will add Part II when it is published.

My advice for now is not to engage in the 'Race for the Cure', eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and skip the pink bucket from KFC.
Cluck for the Cure PART 1
By Ralph Moss, PhD Sunday, 25 April 2010

Last week we were told that fruit and vegetable consumption allegedly has no beneficial effect on cancer incidence. This week we learn that in order to fight cancer we should buy a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The sprawling chicken purveyor and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® have teamed up "to raise funds and spread breast cancer awareness and educational messaging" via a campaign at 5,000 KFC restaurants.

Participating franchises will sell "specially designed pink buckets of grilled and Original Recipe chicken" and KFC will then give 50 cents to Komen for every pink bucket that is ordered during the promotion period. In addition, the lids of these special pink buckets "will have a call to action to get involved." The names of "breast cancer survivors and those who have lost their battle with breast cancer will be listed on the sides of the bucket." The campaign is called "Buckets for the Cure."

Coincidentally, KFC has been in the news recently for a great innovation in dining: the Doubledown. This is an all-meat sandwich, consisting of two pieces of bacon, two slices of cheese and the famous Colonel's Sauce, which contains soybean oil, sugar, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and other goodies. All of this cholesterol is packed between two boneless fried chicken fillets! This "breadless wonder" (as the Toronto Sun called it) first made its appearance at a few locations last summer and was so successful that it was launched across the entire US in April 2010. The original recipe version contains 540 calories, 1380 mg of salt and 32 grams of fat. The company's Web site boasts: "This product is so meaty, there's no room for a bun!" Apologists for the fast food industry have pointed out that Burger King's Triple Whopper has 76 grams of fat. The Doubledown is dietetic by comparison.

Then there's the acrylamide issue. In 2000 Swedish scientists discovered a chemical called acrylamide in such foods as potato chips, French fried potatoes, etc. (Tareke 2000). The Food and Drug Administration then conducted an analysis of the American food supply for acrylamide content and found between 117 and 313 parts per billion (ppb) in KFC French fries, depending on the location sampled. Relatively speaking, this is a very high amount.

Acrylamide is considered a "probable human carcinogen" (Hogervorst 2010). In rat studies, it increased the incidence of mammary gland (breast) cancer as well as thyroid tumors and scrotal mesothelioma. In humans, there is an increased risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, renal cell cancer and oral cavity cancer, even in non-smoking women (ibid.).

A 2009 Dutch epidemiological study showed "some indications of a positive association between dietary acrylamide intake and receptor-positive breast cancer risk in postmenopausal never-smoking women (Pedersen 2009). Comparing the highest consumers of acrylamide to women in the lowest group there was a 43 percent increase in breast cancer in women with ER and PR positive cancers. (A Harvard study found no such association.).
Cluck for the Cure - Part II
Sunday, 02 May 2010

Last week we began a discussion of the alliance between Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). We conclude, with references, this week.


Barbara Brenner of Breast Cancer Action (BCA) calls the alliance between Komen and KFC an egregious example of "pinkwashing." This occurs "when a company purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribboned product, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease. Make no mistake," Brenner adds, "every pink bucket purchase will do more to benefit KFC's bottom line than it will to cure breast cancer."

She also points out that KFC, like most fast food chains, is overwhelmingly present in communities that have poor health outcomes. These social inequities can affect breast cancer mortality rates. "Given this disconnect, we are especially disturbed by this partnership," Brenner says. BCA has launched a campaign to break up the Komen-KFC liaison.

I am a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Breast Cancer Action. In the past I have also been an advisor to Susan G. Komen. Frankly, I think Komen has made a misstep here. Although they will raise money for cancer research by this gambit, they have also providing cover to KFC by doing so. At a time when healthy eating is under broad attack, Komen has chosen to associate itself with products that may, ironically, be linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer, especially in poor and minority communities.

To quote Barbara Brenner: "What the cluck?"

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