Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yippee-Kai-Yay: the research shows...

The "red meat tied to cancer" story has certainly swept the news industry. I like this story about the reaction of Saskatchewan cattle ranchers to the new study:

Ed Bothner, president of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, questions those findings.

"There's societies that eat three to four times as much red meat or three to four times as much beef as we do," Bothner told CBC News. "And I can remember in my lifetime when our per capita consumption in Canada was over 100 pounds. Right now it is lower than 50, so I don't think it's the consumption of red meat, per se, that's the problem."

Joe Kleinsasser, the chairman of SaskPork, said that when he heard about the study, his first reaction was to dismiss it.

"These studies are a dime a dozen," Kleinsasser said. "One day eggs are bad for you, the next day you can't eat enough of them."

I'm sorry dude - BUT WHERE IN THE HELL are people eating three to four times more red meat than North Americans? That's goddamned ludicrous. And the other guy is priceless as well... these studies are a dime a dozen.... Yeah I know. Troll through the archives of this blog... there is NO END to the amount of research saying Whatever the f*&^k you do, don't eat red meat!


Wow - am I the only one who completely missed this Pew Commission Report that came out in April 2008?

Pew Commission Says Industrial Scale Farm Animal Production Poses “Unacceptable” Risks to Public Health, Environment

Washington, DC - 04/29/2008 - The current industrial farm animal production (IFAP) system often poses unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and the welfare of the animals themselves, according to an extensive 2½-year examination conducted by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP), in a study released today.

Commissioners have determined that the negative effects of the IFAP system are too great and the scientific evidence is too strong to ignore. Significant changes must be implemented and must start now. And while some areas of animal agriculture have recognized these threats and have taken action, it is clear that the industry has a long way to go.


I found the Pew Commission report while scanning through the references at the end of this article:

Common Foods and Farming Methods Thought to Promote Health: What the Data Show
Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice - Volume 35, Issue 4 (December 2008)
John Chahbazi, MD & Shelly Grow, MS

If you don't have access to the journal "Primary Care" shoot me an email (check my profile) and I'll see if I can send you a copy.

Here are some exerpts:

On how hard it is to figure out what the healthiest diets are, when our whole lifestyle is so sick

Even if the POEMs needed for evidence-based dietary counseling and farming practice recommendations are available, there is the difficulty of applying proven interventions to a population that has such a high rate of lifestyle-associated disease. This is a population that has continued to gain weight and become diabetic at ever-increasing rates in the face of improved food label reading and dietary changes as reported in Healthy People 2010. Trying for different results while maintaining the basic elements of a lifestyle that already has caused poor health could explain why only a small portion of proven dietary interventions have been shown to improve long-term health or longevity.

Quote from Diet for a New America on the benefits of adopting a vegetarian diet

“The effects on our physical health are immediate. The incidence of cancer and heart attack, the nation's biggest killers, drops precipitously. So do many other diseases now demonstrably and causally linked to consumption of animal proteins and fats, such as osteoporosis … hormonal imbalances causing miscarriages and aberrations of sexual development similarly drop away, as we cease ingesting with our meat, poultry and milk the drugs pumped into our livestock. So do the neurologic disorders and birth defects due to pesticides and other chemicals, as we begin to eat lower on the food chain where the poisons are far less concentrated … We find that the grain we previously fed to fatten livestock can now feed five times the U.S. population; so we have been able to alleviate malnutrition and hunger on a worldwide scale … We find ourselves also relieved of fear. For on a semiconscious level we knew all along that the old disparities in consumption were turning our planet into a tinder box, breeding resentments and desperations that could only eventuate in war.”

On the blood type diets like Eat Right for Your Type

Blood-type diets claiming benefits from different dietary components based on genotypes[37] are dismissed commonly as baseless theory.[38] Evidence is scarce and limited to secondary prevention. The most interesting study showed that a particular blood type in diabetics predisposed to more effective low-density lipoprotein lowering in response to increased dietary fiber.

Antibiotic Use

Cattle in 83% of United States commercial beef and dairy feedlots routinely receive antibiotics for disease prevention and to promote growth, resulting in the use of over 24 million pounds of antimicrobials annually for nontherapeutic purposes.
Many of these antimicrobials, such as tetracycline and penicillin, are important for human use. Drug-resistant bacteria and pathogens have emerged because of the widespread use of antibiotics in the animal reservoir, and these theoretically are able to be passed to people through the consumption of meat products. Health implications of antimicrobial resistance are infections that otherwise would not have occurred and increased rates of treatment failures and infection severity. An antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infection already may have been linked to this practice.

In general

This article is an overview of research on diets and nutrition, and the most common theme is this one:

For now, amelioration of unhealthy choices may be the best approach. Serial substitutions using nonanimal foods and snacks to reduce animal product consumption over time, encouragement of daily vigorous exercise, and increased consumption of organic and locally grown foods appear to be the best strategies toward that end.


Andie said...

When I first saw this post a few days ago, I became interested in what the beef industry exec said about "places where they consume 3 to 4 times as much red meat as Americans" and my head about exploded. So I went online and found some data on red meat consumption by country. Now that I want to actually comment, of course I can't find it. But it ranked only 2 countries above the U.S. in red meat consumption: Argentina and Uruguay, and the differences were around 10-15%, nothing like 3-4 times as much meat.

Sarah said...

They're just insane, eh? Check out their latest concerted backlash against the environmentalists who advocate for a meat-free diet:

Greenies Dismiss MLA Carbon Campaign

Taking on the Greenwash

Oh man....seriously, are they using the "it's part of the carbon cycle" as their argument? Do we need to send them back to primary school science? We're ALL part of the carbon cycle - that's not the point!

Anyway, our blogs are very similar. I tried to have food blog for a while, but I found that there were just too many out there...and it was a lot of effort taking all those food porn pictures :-)