In Paying A Price For Loving Red Meat (New York Times by Jane Brody, April 27, 2009), a new report published in the March 23 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine examined the results of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, Directed by Rashmi Sinha, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute.
The study finds that “men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from one of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer, than people who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods . . . the increase in mortality risk tied to the higher levels of meat consumption was described as “modest,” ranging from about 20 percent to nearly 40 percent.”
The problem with this study is that it seems there is no clear distinction made between red, processed and organic meats. Was the red meat that was studied organically grown, free of pesticides and antiobotics? Would this have made a difference in the outcome of the study?
Isn’t there an important distinction to be made between fresh, organically grown* beef free of artificial coloring and chemical preservatives and meats that have been pumped full of toxic chemicals for coloring and preservation, and taken from cows that have been shot full of antibiotics and hormones grazing on food that has been sprayed with toxic chemicals and grown with toxic fertilizers?
Conventionally raised feed is genetically modified and heavily treated with pesticides, and the animals store the residues in their fatty tissue. Likewise, the animals store the residues of animal by-products they are fed as well. More critically, feeding animals to animals puts the animal and consumer at risk of contracting spongiform encephalopathies (Mad Cow disease). But instead of changing the feed and providing better living conditions, most conventional farmers feed or inject animals with antibiotics and hormones to treat the common occurrence of disease and sickness and hasten time to slaughter. Again, the animals absorb and accumulate these residues in their tissues as well. Thus the animals that consume these components become concentrated sources of chemicals that we unknowingly end up eating and accumulating in our bodies. In contrast, organic farming uses none of these methods that could introduce unhealthy elements into our food supply.
– “Organic Meat: Healthy Animals make Healthy Humans” by Amy Chen, Supermarket Guru, February 10, 2002
In fact, organic foods are generally thought to provide:
- Better health: Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it does not contain any traces of these strong chemicals and might not affect the human body.
- Better taste: People strongly believe that organic food tastes better than non organic food. The prominent reason for this belief is that it is produced using organic means of production. Further organic food is often sold locally resulting in availability of fresh produce in the market.
- Environment safety: As harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air and water pollution; thus ensuring a safe world for future generations to live in.
- Animal welfare: Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat, organic poultry, and organic fish. People feel happy that the animals are not confined to a miserable caged life while eating organic animal products.
– Health Benefits of Organic Food, Organicfacts.net
The key factor in underlining the health benefits of organic meat is contained in the fats. Research suggests that a diet high in forage rather than grain reduces the saturated fatty acid concentrations and enhances the content of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fats are not only important for health but are often lacking in diets containing processed and conventional foods.
– Organic Meat for Health, the-organic-farm.co.uk
It is difficult to tell, but from the abstract of this study it seems this critical distinction was never even considered. It reads, with all paranthetical references to statistics removed:
Results There were 47,976 male deaths and 23,276 female deaths during 10 years of follow-up. Men and women in the highest vs lowest quintile of red and processed meat intakes had elevated risks for overall mortality. Regarding cause-specific mortality, men and women had elevated risks for cancer mortality for red and processed mea intakes. Furthermore, cardiovascular disease risk was elevated for men and women in the highest quintile of red and processed meat intakes. When comparing the highest with the lowest quintile of white meat intake, there was an inverse association for total mortality and cancer mortality, as well as all other deaths for both men and women.
It does seem somewhat clear that white meats of comparable quality are significantly healthier that red, again probably due to the healthier fat content. However, the study seemingly fails to distinguish whether organically grown red meat is healthier than processed white meat, for example.
What most people fail to consider is that it is easy to improve the fat profile in your body by supplementing with fish oils and omega 3 fatty acids. In other words, the disadvantages of eating red meat can easily be overcome with the proper supplements! So eat burgers and steaks but don’t forget to rebalance your fats.
If anyone has access to the full text of this study and would like to comment, please do! Clarification is welcome.
The food and medical industries have been manipulated for profit and control. Today, the masses no longer think for themselves and have lost trust in their innate and instinctive healing ability. They turn to an industry that has no interest in keeping them healthy.
Many natural cures for cancer exist, more now than ever, but none of them are being researched, endorsed, or promoted by those who claim to be the health custodians of the nation. The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the American Medical Association (AMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the major oncology centers all feel threatened by the successes of alternative cancer therapies.
A solution to cancer would mean the end of many institutions that create money and glory for many people. Natural therapies must be disbelieved, denied, discouraged and disallowed at all costs.
According to independent reports by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, a wing of the American Congress, and the World Health Organization (WHO), 85-90 percent of all medical procedures used by today’s medical establishment are unproved and not backed up by scientific research.
The symptom-oriented approach to treating disease generates a tremendous number of potential symptomatic side effects that, in turn, require further treatment.
It is not in the best interest of the medical industry, including the pharmaceutical companies, to find a real cure for cancer or for any other chronic illnesses, for this would make the treatment of disease symptoms obsolete.
*Organically grown: Certified Organic Beef must meet USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards. The Organic Food Production Act, effective October 2002, established USDA standards for food labeled organic. For cattle, these standards include:
* Cattle must be fed 100 percent organic feed, but may be provided certain vitamin and mineral supplements.
* Organically raised cattle may not be given hormones to promote growth or antibiotics for any reason. Any animal that is treated with antibiotics is taken out of the NOP.
* Cattle are grazed on pastures or fields that are certified organic. This means that no pesticides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers are used in the fields. The cattle are fed and finished on certified organic hay and cereal grains or legumes (for example barley, oats, peas and lentils) and must have water sources free of pesticides.
* Certification organizations demand that all livestock is handled, transported and housed in humane conditions. Slaughterhouses, packaging plants and butcher shops must have their premises certified organic so that the “audit trail” from the producers’ farm to the consumers’ table can be maintained.