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Thursday, September 11, 2008
Doughnuts prevent cancer deaths, study shows

CHAPEL HILL -- A diet rich in doughnuts prevents a whole range of cancer deaths, according to a collaborative study released today by the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health, NC State’s Food Science Curriculum and New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

While some dietary experts are befuddled by the results, the study's researchers were not.  "This is exactly what we expected," said Dr. Merc Grubstreet, a nutritionist and the study's lead investigator from UNC.

The long-term, longitudinal study of middle-aged men tracked cancer deaths for two groups, those who ate substantial numbers of doughnuts each day and those who ate one or fewer doughnuts a month. The primary finding was that the "no doughnuts" group was 2.7 times more likely to die from cancer of all types than those in the "doughnut" group.

While most types of doughnuts appeared to have some protective effect, the most efficacious were deep-fried donuts, such as Krispy Kreme®. The effect appears to hold regardless of the pastry's shape. Fillings and frostings seemed to add an extra layer of benefit, said Dr. Grubstreet. Cake doughnuts, such as Dunkin' Donuts®, while less effective, do reduce cancer deaths as well, the study showed.

The experts were careful to note that the study provides little evidence that "a doughnut here or there" does much good at preventing cancer death. "Significant results were only shown for a daily regimen of donuts measured in dozens of doughnuts," said NC State food scientist Fawn Minnion. "The median consumption of our 'doughnut' group was 1.44  gross per month."

"Further," said Dr. Minnion, "there is no evidence that doughnut holes do anything for, or against, one's health status."

The study, researchers said, had opened a series of new doughnut-related questions. An already funded follow-up study is slated to examine whether "hot" doughnuts are more efficacious than the "cold" boxed doughnuts usually sold in retail outlets. Another proposed study hopes to address a problem footnoted in the current one: the higher dropout rate in the "doughnut" group.

"Not many in the older 'doughnut' cohorts died of cancer, true," said a study assistant from Sloan-Kettering, Patsy Sukkard, "but there weren't many left."

Current theories for the high dropout rate include premature deaths related to obesity, diabetes, and hardening of the arteries. At the present no funding source has been found for the dropout study.

One of the Federal Food and Drug Administration's top dietary experts, Virgie Bollix, said she was a "little surprised" at the findings. "Maybe I shouldn't be since the latest studies show getting plastered every night on red wine will make you live forever."

The doughnut study, which cost over $60 million, was funded by Krispy Kreme®, Dunkin' Donuts®, and the Fried Pastries Manufacturers and Distributors Research Institute®.  The study's findings are set to be published in the this month's issue of the Pastry Science Quarterly.

Anonymous Donor top U.S. philanthropist

CHAPEL HILL -- A new study of giving by America's top givers shows that Warren Buffett has been surpassed as America's most generous giver by Anonymous Donor.  Although many have observed the frequent appearance of his name on lists of contributors to various causes, until now no one had ever fully measured the breadth and scope of Anonymous Donor's charity across the many beneficiaries of his largesse.

"Cumulated across the literally tens of thousands of individuals and organizations that Mr. Donor has contributed to, his assistance has benefitted millions of recipients and amounts to billions, and that's billion with a capital 'B,' of dollars, and he has done so every year we studied," said Clive Sinclair of the American Association of Eleemosynary Organizations.

"Although we would like to say that we have captured a record of all of Mr. Donor's generous giving, we know that we haven't," continued Sinclair.  "It seems that he avoids publicity whenever possible," he added.

Gary D. Gaddy’s nephew, 2007 NC State valedictorian Benjamin Gaddy, was one of the early organizers of the Krispy Kreme® Challenge, in which participants, starting at the iconic NC State Belltower on Hillsborough Street, run two miles to the Krispy Kreme® store of Raleigh, eat one dozen doughnuts (totaling 2,400 calories and 144 grams of fat), and run back to the Belltower, all in under one hour. This year's event was so successful that additional doughnuts from a Krispy Kreme® store in Fayetteville, North Carolina were trucked in to meet the day's demands. The 2008 Challenge, in which 3,032 participated, raised over $20,000 for the North Carolina Children's Hospital.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday September 11, 2008.

Copyright 2008  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:16 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:42 PM EDT
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