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Food Research Misrepresented



I was disappointed by the editorial slant which your recent article ("Harvard Researcher Finds Pizza Is Actually Good for You", news story, Dec. 12, 1995) imposed on Dr. Giovannucci's research on the effects of vegetables on risk of prostate cancer. I doubt that Dr. Giovannucci ever would have suggested that his research implied that "pizza is good for you." In fact, all that was claimed was that consumption of foods containing tomatoes (and perhaps strawberries) is correlated to a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men.

The health benefits of tomato-based foods will not cause all foods containing tomatoes to be "good for you." Pizza is generally high in fat, and it is entirely possible that one slice of pizza increases one's risk of heart disease more than it decreases one's risk of prostate cancer. The claim of the title of your article is about as valid as a claim that a cheeseburger is actually good for you because of the ketchup.

I feel that the presentation of your article was irresponsible and sensationalist. Your presumed effort to make the story more eye-catching tarnished what may be respectable and careful research. Please make an effort to portray the results of scientific studies more genuinely in the future. And, if you print this letter, please don't give it the headline, "Biochemistry Student Argues That Ketchup Is Actually Bad For You." --Kevin Martin '96

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