Rumor: Processed Meats Are Too Dangerous For Human Consumption, But…
Are Processed Meats Too Dangerous For Consumption?
I understand why it is a daunting task to feel that the information you receive will actually help to make you healthy. There is so much information available in this age of information and many times what we actually receive is misinformation.
There has been a resurgence of interest in a report released by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research’s (WCRF/AICR), but much of the buzz circulating on the internet misrepresents its findings.
The report never states that processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption, but using headlines like this is an easy way for many websites to generate interest in their websites. Don’t get me wrong. I am a vegan. I don’t eat meat, and I feel there are healthier ways to eat than to eat processed meats. It is still important to present information in an honest and correct way so people can make better informed decisions, because it often harmful to present information just so it fits into someone’s agenda.
The Study: Meat Consumption Should Be Minimized And Processed Meats Should Be Avoided
The World Research Fund study does caution against eating too much meat and eating processed meat, but it doesn’t say anywhere that processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Many people who read and reported on the study made their own conclusion that processed meats are too dangerous for consumption.
The World Cancer Research Fund states on its website, “The articles talking about processed meat being ‘too dangerous for human consumption’ are unhelpful and scaremongering. We would say that if people can’t cut out processed meat completely, they should cut down. WCRF advocates a sensible, healthy, balanced diet.”
Again I don’t eat meat, but I think it is important to present the information in the most truthful way possible. Since there is an abundance of conflicting information on both sides of what constitutes healthy living, when we present misinformation to support eating a plant based diet it leaves too much room for these blanket statements to be attacked. This is turn makes it difficult for many people to really find out what is the healthiest way to eat.
Meat Consumption Should be Minimized. Why?
The study found that eating quantities higher than 500g of cooked red meat (beef, lamb, pork and goat) increased the risk of bowel cancer. A possible reason given for the increased risk of bowel cancer is that red meat contains a compound called “haem” that gives it its red color, which may damage the lining of the bowel.
Studies also show that people who eat a lot of red meat tend to eat fewer plant-based foods. Plant-based foods contain a lot of fiber and fiber protects the colon against colon cancer.
The study recommends eating a meat-free meal every other day and keeping the amount of meat to 150g on the days you would eat meat. On the meat-free days it recommends substituting meat with lentils or beans.
Processed Meat Should Be Avoided. Why?
The study found that eating processed meat increases the risk of cancer more than eating unprocessed meat does, even while consuming smaller amounts. Types of processed meat include: bacon, corned beef, ham, hamburgers, hot dogs pepperoni, and salami.
Processed meat may increase our chances of developing bowel cancer because it can contain several cancer-causing substances. The study indicated that processed meat, like bacon, may have higher levels of N-nitroso compounds than fresh red meat, which can damage DNA in our cells.
Processed meat made from red meat contain haem, which may increase our risk of cancer.
The study also indicated that most processed meat is made from red meat but it is best to avoid bacon, sausages, turkey slices, and other processed meat are also until they know more.
I often hear from some elders that they grew up eating meat, were strong, lived a long time, and their point makes a good argument. I then explain that the meat eaten today is not the same meat eaten thirty years ago. Beef today is not the same as the beef of yesterday.
Modern production methods introduce hormones and toxins into the meat we eat today that are detrimental to our health. Elders who ate grass fed animals that were raised in the natural environment, were presented with meat that was less harmful.
Even so, the natural makeup of the grass fed animals, such as the animals containing “haem”, can become harmful when eaten in large quantities. Today it is much easier to eat large quantities of meat because access to meat is very easy in many places.
Today, in industrialized societies such as America, much of the meat we consume is laden with antibiotics and toxins, not to mention that many of the animals are treated cruelly and are raised in environments that promote disease. The diseased meat in then passed on to the market.
I decided to remove meat and dairy from my diet and my health has improved dramatically. Eating a plant-based diet has dramatically improved my health, but you don’t necessarily have to eat a plant-based diet to be healthy. Eating a diet the is 80% alkaline (vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and some grains) and 20% acidic (grass fed meat and fish) will also support healthy living.