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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

The Hysterical Meat Debate

Column #216

Whoa! Just when “fake” meat was being hailed as the ultimate healthy replacement for “real” red meat that’s supposed to kill you, here comes a study from the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium saying that there’s nothing unhealthy about eating real red meat.1

Of course the anti red meat propagandists, vegetarians, PETA folks, and highly-processed “plant-based-meat” manufacturers went ballistic with hysterical shouts of hogwash. For decades, those folks and the medical community, most nutritionists, dieticians, and media types have been telling everyone that red meat MAY cause cancer, is ASSOCIATED with heart disease, and is LINKED to diabetes and obesity. The only problem with their theories is that based on the methods used in their sighted research studies, the same claims can be attributed all other food items!2 3 4

Nobody has ever actually tested the negative theories attributed to red meat. That’s because the long-term “studies” conducted so far only ask people what they remembered eating. In all cases the foods they ate covered the entire gamut and lifestyles were not taken into consideration. A real meat study will require two or three decades where numerous meat-eating subjects are in a controlled situation where they can ONLY eat meat while the same number of control subjects cannot eat any meat. Because humans are human a study like that will never happen.

Other than improperly cooked or burnt meat nobody has been able to pinpoint a chemical in red meat that can cause a chronic disease in the average healthy adult. Yes, some people with certain rare health issues can have negative reactions to various substances some of which are in meat. Therefore, in a manner of speaking, I can say the main arguments claiming red meats cause disease are myths not facts!

Before reviewing the myths, let’s get down-to-earth practical for a moment. The human body is red meat. Can anyone name a food, other than red meat, that more closely replicates a healthy human body? Do nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruit look like humans in anyway shape or form? Even spinach and other nutrient dense greens do not replicate a human body. In no way do they look like human flesh nor do they have human-like organs and bones.

Of all the food choices, only meat provides all of the essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein in easily digestible forms that replicate human needs. And red meat can only provide a healthy nutrient mix if the animals are raised properly so that their Omega-6 essential fatty acid (EFA) ratios to Omega-3 EFAs are 2:1 or less. Then they are perfect nutrient sources.5

Plants have survival mechanisms. Their physical defenses include thorns, spines, bark, bitterness, waxy cuticle, hard shells, and the ability to grow out of reach of many animals. It’s also universally recognized that most, if not all, plants produce natural toxins to defend themselves from being eaten. Only some of their chemical defenses can be neutralized by cooking, soaking, fermentation, boiling, heating, or sprouting. So humans rightfully fear their chemical defenses most.

Rather than chemical, animal defenses are physical. Animals use smell, sight, hearing, taste, touch, biting, kicking, clawing, flight, camouflage, hiding, and sheer size to avoid and survive attacks. Even rattlesnakes, skunks, and porcupines can be eaten.6 7 8

Red Meat Myths

Myth One: Saturated fat is bad. Unfortunately its impact on the human body was never actually analyzed until recently. For decades, based on common sense, it was assumed that saturated fat caused clogging of the arteries. Modern studies seeking to substantiate that theory ended up determining that eating saturated fat is not a killer. The killer is mostly sugar and high EFA ratios.9

Myth Two: Red meat causes cancer. Once again that position was based entirely on theories. Theories are not facts. There is considerable work behind the Keto diet that indicates fueling bodies with fat shuts down cancerous growths because cancers depend mostly on sugar and carbohydrates to thrive. Cancer growths are also subdued when a body’s EFA ratio is less than 2.5:1.5 10

Myth Three: The idea that meat can cause diabetes and obesity is really hilarious. That’s a myth of the highest order. Scientists and medical personnel who prescribe the keto diet say they are curing diabetes quickly with a strict ketosis diet of animal fats and animal protein. In addition their patients lose weight! Now how can obese people with diabetes be cured if the prescribed food causes diabetes and obesity?11 12

Myth Four: Red meat can be contaminated by E. coli and salmonella. This is a popular anti meat mantra that is not only deceptive but rather lamebrain too. It’s true that all foods can become contaminated, even water. So it’s not just meat. All vegetables, which include organic vegetables, are notorious for harboring bacteria contamination. Additionally, seeds, nuts, and fruit are excellent hosts for fungal and bacterial contamination. When it comes to bacteria, all foods are equal. Cooking meat to 160° Fahrenheit kills nearly all pathogens. Steaks and roasts are actually sterile on the inside with only the outside having the potential to harbor pathogens. Therefore, a rare steak or roast cooked to an external temperature of 160° is very safe. Ground meat, which has mixed the exterior meat with interior meat requires an internal cooking temperature of 160° to be safe.

Yes Virginia, red meat is good for you especially if it’s grass-fed and Omega-3. It’s the seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and processed foods that we should be mostly concerned about. The theories supporting processed fake meats might be promoting another health disaster that will rank right up there with most processed foods, hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, vegetable oils in general, Twinkies, and low fat diets.13 14 15

Red meat has been man’s primary food for more than three million years. There’s no sense in questioning its ability to provide the numerous nutrients humans require for proper health since apparently it’s necessary for good health. Maybe that’s one reason why the people who don’t eat meat, or much of it anyway, are so hysterical when they hear “Grass-fed red meat is safe to eat.”

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

1. Unprocessed Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption: Dietary Guideline Recommendations from the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium

2. Experts Question Studies on the Impact of Eating More Red Meat by Dr. Tara Narula from CBS News

3. Canadian Doctor Says Blowback to Meat Study Is 'Hysterical,' More Discourse Needed by Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

4. Hysterical Backlash over New Pro-Beef Research Emerges by Amanda Radke

5. The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases by Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos

6. Naturally Occurring Food Toxins by Laurie C. Dolan, et al.

7. Plant Defense Mechanisms Against Herbivores from Lumen Candela

8. Plants vs. Plant Eaters by Ted Slanker

9. The Evidence for Saturated Fat and for Sugar Related to Coronary Heart Disease by James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, et al.

10. Cancer: The Untold Story by Ted Slanker

11. Is There a Role for Short-Term Ketosis in Long-Term Care for Type 2 Diabetes? by Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD, Brooke Bailey, PhD, Jeff Volek, PhD, RD

12. A Child with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1dm) Successfully Treated with the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet: a 19-month Insulin Freedom by Csaba Tóth, Zsófia Clemens

13. Is Red Meat Good For You? by Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz; Health Nerd

14. Disadvantages of Being a Vegetarian by Jason Ladock,

15. Are Impossible Burgers Healthy for Pregnant Women? by Claudia Boyd-Barrett, BabyCenter News & Analysis

 

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