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The Nutritionally Unsound 'Nutritional and Metabolic Antineoplastic Diet' of Laetrile Proponents

Victor Herbert, MD, JD
JAMA. 1978;240(11):1139-1140. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290110037009.
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To the Editor.—  In Laetrile Case Histories, Richardson and Griffin1 delineate the "nutritional and metabolic antineoplastic diet" of laetrile proponents. The diet calls for the following:

  1. No meat, fish, or fowl. These are the major sources of absorbable iron in the American diet. Their lack results in a much higher frequency of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia, thereby harming cancer patients.2

  2. No dairy products. These are the main sources of calcium in the American diet. Lack of adequate calcium damages bone maintenance, thereby harming cancer patients.2

  3. No animal protein. Animal protein is the exclusive source of vitamin B12 in the American diet, with the exception of vitamin B12-fortified foods and microorganisms such as seaweed. Lack of this vitamin interferes with basic biochemical processes in normal tissue, thereby harming cancer patients.2

  4. Increased ingestion of fruits and vegetables. Such a diet is high in bulk and low


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