Just as you were getting ready to dust off the rusty hibachi comes a
trio of reports that children who regularly eat hamburgers, hot dogs, and/or
cured meats increase their risk of developing various kinds of cancer.
Sara Sarasua and David A. Savitz of the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill studied the eating habits of 440 children, 234 of whom had
cancer, as well as of their mothers during pregnancy. These facts "jumped
ate ground meat once a week had twice the risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia
than those who ate none, and triple the risk when they ate two or more hamburgers
The good news was that regular vitamin supplement intake counteracted
many of these effects. "There was a general pattern in which failure
to take vitamins conferred a greater increase in risk than eating lots of
meats," said Dr. Savitz (Science News, 4/23/94).
In fact lunch meat was only a risk for children not taking vitamin supplements.
"If theres a benefit to taking vitamins," Savitz added, "that
benefit is greatest for children who are consuming more of these meats."
These timely findings appeared in March 1994 Cancer Causes and Control.
They were assailed by a scientist who contends that cooked beef (and Cheese
WhizÆ) have anticancer effects. Meanwhile, an ACS official claimed
that no definite link has been shown between childhood cancer and frankfurters
(Chicago Tribune, 6/4/94).
ACS wants to study the matter further--the same thing they told me when I wrote
on carcinogenic nitrates in frankfurters for The Nation back in 1981.
From The Cancer Chronicles #20
© March 1994 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
Eating red meat was recently linked to the development of prostate
cancer. (In the past, it had been linked to the promotion of that same
disease.) Men eating red meat five times a week or more faced 2.5 times
the risk of developing such cancer as men who ate it less than once
a week (JNCI 2/16/94).
Meanwhile, in Holland, a large study failed to implicate red meat per
se (as many expected) but did find processed meats and especially sausages
to be a cause of colon cancer.
R. Alexandra Goldbohm and her colleagues quizzed over 120,000 Dutch
men and women about their eating habits. In Cancer Research (2/94) they
report that they found no link between colon cancer and the intake of
animal protein, animal fat, or freshly cooked meats. However, there
was a 72 percent increase in colon cancer among those who ate more than
20 grams (7/10ths of an ounce) of processed meat, such as sausages,
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