Healthy Reason to Forgo Foie Gras
Study: Eating Foie Gras May Raise Risk of Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, and Other Diseases
June 20, 2007 -- If the thought of force-fed fowl doesn’t turn you off to
foie gras, this news just might.
New research suggests that a compound found in fatty goose and duck liver
may be linked to a rare disease called amyloidosis, opening the door to a
potential link between the delicacy and a host of other amyloid-related
diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to type 2 diabetes.
Researchers say it’s the first known evidence that a food product can speed
the production of amyloid protein in animals. An abnormal buildup of amyloid
deposits is linked to a variety of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis,
type 2 diabetes, and others.
Amyloid is commonly found in waterfowl, but researchers say their
concentration is especially high in force-fed birds, such as those used in the
production of foie gras.
Foie Gras Fatal?
Their results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, showed that feeding disease-prone mice a steady diet of foie gras
accelerated the development of amyloidosis with amyloid deposits found in many
“Eating foie gras probably won’t cause a disease in someone who isn’t
genetically predisposed to it,” says researcher Alan Solomon, MD, of the
University of Tennessee at Knoxville, in a news release. “Perhaps people with a
family history of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or other
amyloid-associated diseases should avoid consuming foie gras and other foods
that may be contaminated.”
Aside from suggesting a link between foie gras and disease, researchers say
the results also raise the possibility that other prion or abnormal
protein-related diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may be passed from
affected animal food products to humans.
But researchers say these results are only preliminary and more study is
needed to definitively prove these links.