We are international

Food News: The Good, the Bad, and the Debatable Revisited

DurieBlog_Food.jpgI have received quite a bit of feedback about my previous blog, mostly with comments or added information. Many readers were happy to learn about the book A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell, a copy of which was given away at the IMF's recent Support Group Leaders' Summit in Dallas. An especially helpful comment came from a reader named Jeannie, who cited a British study that indicates an especially low incidence of myeloma among vegetarians.  But, it has also been noted, and I believe very importantly, that red meat can also be needed by myeloma patients from time to time--especially during recovery from a stem cell transplant, when new red blood cell formation requires plenty of iron.  Some myeloma patients also note that adding some red meat back into the diet can help improve neuropathy symptoms.  So these are some good things!
Unfortunately, it seems there are always plenty of  bad things to comment about in the world of food. Vitaminwater, a Coca-Cola product, has recently been in the news.  As it turns out, there is less than 0.5% actual fruit juice in the dragon fruit, kiwi strawberry, and acai blueberry pomegranate varieties. But what there is plenty of in Vitaminwater is sugar. Each 20-ounce bottle has about eight teaspoons of sugar (120 calories). So the recent attention has concerned marketing: is it really healthy?  It appears to be just another source of unwanted calories plus unnamed chemicals.

Talking about unwanted chemicals, one to watch out for is arsenic. In a blog post for Discover magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Deborah Blum cites a study released last week "showing the first direct link between rice consumption and arsenic-induced genetic damage." It turns out rice contains unwanted arsenic, especially rice imported from China. This has been brought to the attention of the FDA and a ruling is awaited, which will probably be similar to the maximum allowable limit in water, for example.  Be cautious.

And finally, there is a debatable update.  Unfortunately, one has to be careful about pomegranate seeds.  I mentioned my liking for fresh pomegranate juice plus sparkling water, which is fine.  But it turns out that two types of frozen berry blends can contain hepatitis A in pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey.  These have already been withdrawn from the market by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. So again, the safe and healthy answer is local, fresh, and organic, if possible. 

The bottom line is that what you eat and drink can be hazardous to your health. Try to make healthy choices and enjoy!

Dr. Durie sincerely appreciates and reads all comments left here. However, he cannot answer specific medical questions and encourages readers to contact the trained IMF Hotline staff instead. Questions are answered with input from Dr. Durie and/or other scientific advisors and IMWG members as appropriate. To contact the IMF Hotline, call  800-452-CURE, toll-free in the US and Canada, or send an email to hotline@myeloma.org. Hotline hours are 9 am to 4 pm PST. Friday summer hours are 9 am to 3 pm PDT. Thank you.


Changing your diet can have such a great impact on your health, it is especially good for those who have cancer life insurance, improving your health can help you get lower insurance premiums.

It appears thatANY food imported from China should be avoided!

Dr., my husband is currently in remission (3 yrs post transplant) He is resistant to forgoing his occasional coke, ice cream, candy bar etc. etc.. He is also a big fan of bacon and wants an occasional In n Out burger.

I do my best to make sure that he doesn't get fake sugar and we eat a lot of organic vegetables and fruit. Poultry and fish comprise the bulk of the meat we eat. His attitude is that he is 71 years old and isn't about to stop eating what he wants now.

Do you have any recommendation or thoughts on supplementation? Thank you for bringing this information to us.

My question is if local organic is not available in your area. But local non-organic is. Or organic from across the country is. Which do you choose? Local non-organic or shipped form 500+ miles?

Leave a comment

To subscribe to this blog, enter your email address below: