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Red Meat Kills

by: Jill Richardson

Tue Mar 24, 2009 at 22:20:53 PM PDT


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A new study has some good news for cows and pigs, but bad news for chicken. They found that people who eat the most red meat (beef and pork) have a 20% to 30% increased risk of premature mortality. I guess pork is NOT the "other white meat." So much for that marketing slogan.

From the Washington Post:

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

Previous research had found a link between red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but the new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of death, and is by far the most detailed.

This doesn't come as a surprise to me, but it's always nice to back up hunches with facts. What I think WILL be surprising to a lot of people is how little red meat (4 oz/day) made a difference. Four ounces is within the Food Pyramid's guidelines for how much meat you should eat daily, although they do encourage you to "choose [fish, nuts, and seeds] frequently instead of meat or poultry." (The Food Pyramid does NOT tell you to avoid beef - just "choose lean cuts" of beef.)

From the nutrition advice I've seen during my work in hospitals, these study results don't result in new dietary advice. Any doctor would tell you that red meat is a good idea, and red meat every day (particularly processed meats) is a bad idea. No surprise there. Best headline I've seen on this? "Steak and Hot Dogs Linked to Early Death"

Jill Richardson :: Red Meat Kills
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Red Meat Kills | 10 comments
The comments over at Food Nation are interesting (4.00 / 4)
and one wonders the same thing I do, would the results be the same with humanely raised grass fed beef? I think you have a much higher chance of shortening your life with many of the diet choices shoved down our throats by the industrial food giants. And that now includes the "processed organics", imo. I have a processed food free diet and I would love to see a side to side comparison on meat studies etc.

I do find it interesting that pork is a red meat. Could they have been talking about bacon eaters?!

Anyway, until they can show me my pastured meats are "bad" (aside from trampling the grass and farting, lol!~), I'll continue to follow my food less f***ed with theory and stick with whole foods etc and making my own sausage ;)


the trampling the grass (4.00 / 3)
that they do is actually GOOD and NECESSARY :) So you don't have to worry about that, just the farting.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
well that's a bummer (4.00 / 4)
my hubby is a true carnivore, and i really dislike chicken, so we eat beef (grassfed, organic) about 3x a week.  

it would be interesting to know if the folks they studied were meat and potatoes types or if they also consumed a large amount of vegetables as well.  (i tend to eat vegetarian, tho not vegan, until dinner.)


my hunch? (3.80 / 5)
They probably had your typical factory farmed meat and less than the recommended amt of fruits & veg each day.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
I think their dietary habits were exposed when they said (4.00 / 5)
"cold cuts and other processed meats", lol!~

I think another thing that should be known, is how the meats were prepared. If they were making meatballs in a red sauce and that red sauce was from a jar . . . they are more than likely ingesting a lot more sodium than if they had made the sauce. If they are using ingredients like jarred mushrooms over fresh, canned veggies over fresh or frozen, same thing. It's interesting to cruise around looking for recipes. I can't believe some of them. Adding cans of Campbell's soups and other tasty things from the center aisles {shudder}.  And what else is on the plate with it? That grilled burger might just be ok (sans drowning in bottle BBQ sauce!), until you add chips or fries and a super sized soda . . . .


[ Parent ]
4 oz is a really small portion (4.00 / 4)
compared to what most Americans would eat at one sitting if meat were the focus of the meal. At a restaurant an 8-oz steak is considered small--12 oz is more typical.

confounding variables? (4.00 / 4)
Did they compare other aspects of the frequent meat-eaters' diets? It makes sense to me that people eating a lot of meat, especially cold cuts and other highly processed forms, probably have a bad diet in other ways too.

I would like to see a study comparing people who eat a lot of meat as part of a conventional American diet with people who eat a lot of meat as part of a whole-foods diet packed with fruits and vegetables and so on.


my hunch? (4.00 / 3)
probably this was just people eating a lot of meat as part of a conventional American diet.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Will people just start eating more chicken? (0.00 / 0)
When I saw this little study detail in a CNN article I kind of flipped:

In contrast, people who ate the most white meat seemed to have a slightly lower mortality risk during the study than those who consumed the least amount of white meat. White meat included chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as some poultry products and canned tuna.

So eating more chicken is healthier than eating less chicken? Sounds like BS to me. I guess that word "slightly" comes in handy.

And I beg to differ with this statement:
"What we need to keep in mind about this study is that it does not prove that red meat causes increased death; it simply shows an association," [Sandon] says.

YES, RED MEAT CAUSES INCREASED DEATH!! 103.5 million pigs, 35.5 million cattle, 2.8 million sheep and lambs, and 0.8 million calves!!


meat lobby (4.00 / 1)
back in the 50s the US surgeon general came out with a strong recommendation against eating red meat.  as you can expect the farm lobby beat him back to the stone age and he was forced to retract the statement despite its validity.  

to this day the government can only recommend that you eat more vegetables, not less meat.


Red Meat Kills | 10 comments
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