Asparagus Causes Breast Cancer

“Asparagus causes breast cancer.”

This proclamation came from my oldest daughter after I told her what was for dinner last night. The girls had been with their dad for 10 days and I had expected a challenging evening. I had been prepared for conflict, arguments over every unimportant detail. But I had not anticipated this.

The girls’ stepmother had breast cancer not long ago so it isn’t uncommon for me to hear about what causes breast cancer.

But asparagus?

So I googled it. And it turns out this isn’t exactly true, although I can see how it could be interpreted that way.

The short story, from what I’ve read (which honestly isn’t all that much) is that there has been a study (possibly several) that have linked the amino acid asparagine with growth of tumors on mice. This amino acid is formed by the body from substances found in foods including asparagus, fish and potatoes.

I don’t know if my daughter saw this on the news. More likely it was discussed either directly with her or she overheard a conversation while she was at her dad’s. With this information I would agree that her stepmother should avoid these foods. There is no reason for a healthy 13 year old to avoid asparagus.

I reminded my daughter that information on the news or the internet is usually provided in a way to generate emotion in people. In this age of information overload and short attention spans it’s imperative for a journalist to grab the viewer from the first moment, draw them into their story and provide the “facts” in a way that will cause fear, anger, or other powerful feelings.

I believe the intention of the study was to understand the relationship between this amino acid and cancer so that doctors might be better able to treat their patients. I don’t believe it was designed to cripple the asparagus industry as it appears it might do based on the reaction I’ve seen.

So, before you or I make any rash decisions we should probably do some more research. It is probably perfectly fine to eat asparagus…at least until the next scientific discovery.

(I’m sorry Walt….this one just fit. I wasn’t even trying…)

This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Rash.

18 thoughts on “Asparagus Causes Breast Cancer”

      1. As far as I’m concerned, just about any vegetable that is cooked with olive oil, garlic and rosemary is cooked right. Although with asparagus, adding a little bit of lemon juice is usually a good idea.


  1. Good advice. We all need to research more and question what we here or see. And yes, the next study will refute the previous one – depending on who sponsors the study. 🙂 I guess the correct approach is moderation in all things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly. We all tend to react to what we hear. It can be very convincing but we need to remember it’s a journalist’s job to elicit emotion….it’s our job to understand the facts.


  2. Too bad I already wrote an article using the word: rash. Rash decisions aren’t all bad. Your title: Asparagus causes breast cancer got my attention. As a thriver myself, I understand how fickle research can be. Depending on who is doing the research, results can usually be skewed to get a certain result. Today’s cancer-causing food could easily be tomorrows’ cure…


  3. While I don’t think asparagus causes cancer and it seems like even the good foods have some amino acids associated with cancer, I did decide to give up meat, milk products, peanuts and asparagus. I don’t mind eating more broccoli and less asparagus. And a bonus is I don’t have to smell stinky pee.

    Liked by 1 person

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