I cannot think of a more appalling example of this than the new campaign from the Susan G. Komen Foundation's "Buckets for the Cure" effort. Partnering with KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), the Foundation is receiving donations of 50 cents for every pink bucket of fried chicken purchased in order to further their objective of finding a cure. The Foundation states: "As the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, we’re working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures." News of this new campaign has been eating at me (pun intended) for a week now. And then the coupons arrived in my mailbox. Just for me - their "Breast Deal." A coupon for a fried chicken breast, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a biscuit - all for $2.59 so that I can "Join the cause." So that I can help empower myself to help find a cure by consuming products that put me at risk. Seriously?!?
How, in good conscience, this partnership arose is hard to fathom. The link between cancer and diet has been established time and time again through volumes of clinical research. Even the American Institute for Cancer Research's Expert Report entitled Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer advises against processed and salty foods. The report notes that "salt and salt-preserved foods probably increase the chance of developing stomach cancer."
High fat diets have been linked to breast cancer - and for several generations. Science Daily reported on a study from the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrating that pregnant women who ate high-fat foods had daughters and granddaughters who had higher incidence of breast cancer. Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer may be able to stall their cancer recurrence by consuming a low-fat diet, according to the American Cancer Society.
And who is going to be most inspired to help find a cure for breast cancer? Likely women. Women who may get pregnant and have children. Women who have had breast cancer. Women who want to end breast cancer - the very same women who should avoid salty, processed, high-fat foods. But instead of finding a cure, we are increasing their own risk by participating in this fundraising campaign.
My lovely "Breast Deal" coupon will buy me 130 calories from fat (3.5 grams of saturated fats) and 710 mgs of sodium just for the chicken breast. Mashed potatoes with gravy adds another 4 grams of fat (1 g saturated) and another 530 mg of sodium. Let's not forget my biscuit, with 6 grams of saturated fat and 530 additional mg of sodium. A lovely lunch for 519 calories, 10.5 grams of saturated fat, and 1,770 mgs of sodium. A sedentary female between the ages of 31-50 years old should consume less than 16 grams of saturated fat a day according to the American Heart Association and between 1,000 and 3,000 mgs of sodium per day according to Rutgers University. Let's not even discuss the lack of vital foods and nutrients promoted in this deal (not a fresh vegetable or antioxidant in sight) - these numbers already tip the scale out of balance.
Thank you, KFC, but I will not be joining you. And to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, I will definitely think before I pink!