Monday, May 21, 2007
Red meat risks
Chefs prepare their entries at the World Championship Steak Cook-Off
"It was the smell of steak heaven!"

That's how David Nelson described the scene at the 18th annual World Championship Steak Cook-Off last weekend.

I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the mouth-watering taste and smell of more than 4,000 steaks grilling in Magnolia, Arkansas. My stomach growled just thinking about it. The winning chef, Lance Woolridge, beat 52 other competitors for the top prize of $2,500 and the championship cup. Wooldridge's secret is keeping it simple: a little bit of salt and pepper and don't burn it.

I am an unabashed red meat lover. For the last ten years or so, I've been a pariah for it. Even at my liberal arts college years ago, the vegetarian and pescetarian majority would moan and groan about brisket or burger night. They scowled at me, I smiled and sang my meat song. I still eat my steaks loud and proud, but there may be good reason that I'm in the minority.

While beef can be a good source of protein, zinc, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus, it is terribly high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Consider these numbers from the Harvard School of Public Health:

- A 6-ounce Porterhouse steak can give you 38 grams of complete protein, but also 44 grams of fat and 16 of them the bad, saturated kind

- 6 ounces of salmon gives you 34 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat, and only 4 of them bad, saturated fat.

- 1 cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein, but less than 1 gram of fat.

Aside from high fat and cholesterol, eating a lot of red meat has also been associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and higher risks of breast, stomach and colorectal cancers. According to USDA statistics, it seems as if the public has responded to all this bad press. The average per capita beef consumption was highest from 1970 to 1975 at 85 pounds annually. In 1980-85 it was 78 pounds per person. These days, the per capita average is less than 64 pounds annually.

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests how you cook your red meat can contribute to increased risks for cancer. A carcinogen called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is found in grilled, barbecued and smoked meat (as well as many other foods). And another carcinogen called heterocyclic amines is produced by cooking meat at high temperatures - like pan frying and grilling. Interestingly, chicken and fish cooked in the same way do not have as high a level of carcinogens.

But the question remains is it actually red meat or grilling itself that is the cause of higher disease rates or is eating red meat just emblematic of poorer habits in general? Those same studies have found that people who eat red meat are more likely to smoke and eat fewer vegetables and fruits.

How much steak or red meat do you eat? Do you think eating red meat is unhealthy? Why or why not? Do you avoid red meat? Do you think grilling raises your cancer risk? Do you stick to the recommended portion of 3 ounces or roughly the size of a deck of cards? Do you think vegetarianism is healthier?
HELLO Chris!
Well, didn't you push my buttons? I haven't eaten red meat in over twenty years. My Grandmother taught me well. She did not eat red meat and she lived to be 112! That's right! I used to write an weekly article for my local newspaper. If you want to get the cattlemen riled, just write about the dangers of red meat or better yet, mention the "V" word, you know, VEGETARIAN!
Not only is red meat all of the health risks you listed (which is basically slow suicide, like smoking) eating red meat is BAD for the environment.
Think of this: How many pounds of grain does it take to get one pound of meat? How many acres of pasture is consumed for each cow? Wouldn't this all be a better use for health and the environment to grow grain fed directly to humans or use the land to grow crops fed directly to humans? Yeah, makes a lot more sense. We are loosing rainforest to raise beef! For what? To kill people and the earth?
Let's talk methane. Food animals are a major source of methane gas that is destroying the ozone and the air we breathe.
I can't think of one good reason to eat beef. It's not good for people to consume and it is certainly not good for the cow!
In addition to all the risks you, mentioned, I rest my case!
Eat more veggies,live longer and healthier!
Class dismissed~
I am a red meat eater! The more rare the better too. I think everything in moderation is just the rule of thumb. It seems to me that on a yearly basis, things are put on and removed from the "Do Not Eat" list. One day something is good for you the next it's horrible. So since we don't have the time to alter our diets on a daily basis according to the latest report, I again say "All in moderation!".
One more thing. Thank you for writing such and informative article about the dangers of red meat. Excellent blog. We need to keep saying it until it registers with people. We are what we eat. perod.
This information will not only save lives, it will make lives richer and longer.
People need to stop thinking up ways to live long enough to get Alzheimer’s and start enjoying life. Nothing enrages me more than listening to someone say, “Ewww, you ate all that red meat!”

I would eat steak raw from the package like candy bar if I could. I’ve even fantasized about raising my own bull to love and one day eat. I bet I could hit that average yearly red meat ingestion in less than 2 months.

When they use organic, grassfed meats in their studies then I'll listen. How is it that North Americans have been eating generous quantities of red meat for so long, but chronic diseases 'related' to their consumption have only surfaced recently?
With all due respect Dr. Gupta, I am surprised that you still subscribe to the dogma that saturated fat and cholesterol are dangerous dietary choices. Certainly, high level of LDL suggest plaque formation, but the concept of this blood marker being raised by dietary intake of saturated fat and cholesterol has never been substantiated. As many epidemiological studies have shown -- contrary to the nutritional dogma we face today -- increased saturated fat intake actually shows a protective effect against heart disease.

Also, conjugated linoleic acid can counteract the PAHs to which you refer. And grass-fed beef has much higher levels of CLA than conventional grain-fed beef, which could render the PAH argument moot. Cows are supposed to forage on hay (grass) rather than grains and other animals (think Mad Cow disease) in the first place.

Cooking meat over a fire has been a part of human evolution for a very long time (possibly 100K years ago). I find it somewhat hubristic that nutritionists think they can outsmart a process many millenia in the making.

Great article! The whole diet discussion is very complicated. It is interesting to note that with the decrease in red meat consumption there is also an explosion of Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. I don't think it's a causal relationship, but I do think we've picked a new posion in our American diet. A new posion that will be much worse than the diet of 20 years ago. I think Moderation has got to be the secret.
Are you reading these comments? SEE? People are willing to fight die for their bad food choices! It is truly amazing!
I love a good cheeseburger, but try to only eat one once in a very great while. Same with bacon. While these foods taste great, there are health concerns. Luckily, I also like chicken, fish and veggies. So I have plenty to eat.

Too much of anything is not a good thing. Neither is too little. Supplements don't work as well as a balanced diet. People need iron and protein. The answer, as noted by another poster, is moderation.
Will, your comment was irresponsible and misleading. You don't "live long enough to get Alzheimers". Alzheimers is a disease and NOT a normal part of the aging process. Have you ever seen the conditions in feedlots and slaughterhouses? If you had, I doubt you would be so enthusiastic about eating meat. I am not a vegetarian, but I do eat healthy balanced meals with a bit of poultry or seafood here and there. If every American at least cut down on their meat consumption it would have enormous environmental and health benefits.
The answer is not moderation. The answer is to eliminate junk foods from the diet and eat real unprocessed food. Eat until satisfied, but never gorge. I don’t need a study to tell me this.

I eat red meat, pork, fish and chicken, all with any associated fat and skin still on. I cook the majority of my meats over an open flame, although I do take care not to burn it. I eat more than a dozen eggs per week, usually scrambled, with real cheese sprinkled on top. I also eat copious amounts of vegetables and fresh chopped salads, along with a little fruit and nuts. Most vegetarians I know don’t eat the quantity of vegetables I do. And that’s all that I eat.

Gee, I hope it doesn’t kill me!
Betty Ann, I'd like to address some of your statements.

First of all, while it's wonderful that your grandmother lived to such a ripe old age, you only mention that she didn't eat red meat. But you didn't clarify whether she was vegan or not. I would consider it anomalous for a strict vegetarian to live that long, considering how discordant this diet is with our evolution.

Weston A. Price studied native cultures in the 1920s and 1930s, and he found not a single group -- healthy population, anyway -- that was strictly vegetarian. Most of these cultures exhibited robust health with excellent facial structure, minimal cavities and few infectious diseases. They all subsisted on vary proportions of plant and animal foods, although in the case of the Inuits, plant consumption was virtually nil. Price's work, along with that of virtually every other objective paleontologist, suggests that we are omnivores.

It seems that many vegetarians/vegans promote their diet as part of a more peaceful, ecofriendly lifestyle. While I respect the attempt at pacifism, again this belies our evolution. Mother nature has many facets, some serene and idyllic, but other violent and gruesome. I believe in consumption of animals not because of a superiority complex, but simply because our evolution has made this an ideal fuel for the human frame. As such, I do not personally condone hunting for sport, only for survival.

You also mention that eating meat is "slow suicide." But none of these supposed health risks are intrinsic to meat or animal flesh, only their production and preparation. Grain-fed beef contains a relatively poorer fatty acid profile than its grass-fed counterpart. Most conventional beef contains xenohormones and antibiotics as well, so of course this "food" is not ideal by any means. As far as food preparation goes, steaks should ideally be served rare, harking back to the pre-fire days when PAHs and HAs were not a concern. All of these things can easily be instituted in a diet plan to bring about excellent nutrition and health.

And finally, let's take a moment to talk about what one would eat if not for animal flesh. You would have to basically subsist on vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes. For many vegetarians, legumes (beans, peanuts) provide the only real protein source in the diet. Strange isn't it that no single plant food provides the complete spectrum of amino acids. Not only that, but humans do not even produce the enzymes to break down the starches found in beans. Once ingested, they pass through the digestive tract undigested and begin to ferment, promoting intestinal dysbiosis and embarassing flatulence. In order to circumvent this issue, beans must be soaked, sprouted and/or cooked very thorougly to minimize any indigestion. Meat, on the other hand, is best served as close to raw as possible. That fact alone should rest my case.

I'm not going to even get into grains and how damaging they can be (i.e. gluten/gliadin) to the intestinal tract.

I'd love to hear a reply from Betty Ann to these arguments I have presented.
I find it interesting that the bloggers seam to be more educated about the subject than the author...well...with the exception of the vegetarian. Saturated fats are bad for you? I have been drinking a gallon of raw whole milk and 6 raw (free range) eggs every day for a month. That is about 600% of my RDA of both saturated fat and cholesterol and I have lost weight and all of my vitals have improved. Eating red meat that is full of hormones from animals that are eating corn and soybeans that is charred to kill off bacteria would, by all logic, increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. But that is a lot different from eating red meat that was grass fed and cooked over low heat. Heart disease has increased 1500% since 1940 in the United states. That is because of the processed foods and the poor quality of the unprocessed foods that we eat. It isn't because people didn't eat red meat before 1940.
Ok Nick~
First of all, let me say that my Grandmother was not a vegan. I said she did not eat red meat.Dr. Gupta says that genetics are only 30% of our longevity. RED meat is not only unnecessary it is harmful. Also, I am not completely a vegetarian, I do eat fish and other low fat meat occasionally.
In my studies I read where humans were originally grazers (vegetarian) up until the ice age when survival of the fittest came in. My physician agrees with me with the exception that he believes there was always canibalism where bodies were eaten when they passed away. Waste not want not I guess.
Also, there has been some study on blood types and meat consumption. For example type A, the first type, was a grazer. Type B evolved to eat a little meat, so forth and so on. It is all just a theory.
I raised my children vegetarian with the encouragement of their pediatrician. Although MANY people gave me grief for it, including their father, saying they will not grow properly I studied nutrition and guess what? My son grew and grew to 6 feet 5 inches!!! I am 5 feet 3 inches and my son is bigger than anyone on either side of the family! My son's father and everyone had to agree that I did the right thing.
Soy protein is the most perfect protein found in nature.
Yes, my diet is mostly veggies, fruits, nuts, soy and whole grains with occasional low fat meat.
I believe in eating to live not living to eat. I know red meat taste good. Hell, I was raised on it! But the fact of the matter is, it is bad for you. NO moderation there, it is just plain bad.
While we all want to eat what taste good to us and gives us comfort, we must take responsibility for our choices.
I recommend the book Diet For A New America by John Robbins, and of course Chasing Life by Dr. Gupta.
By the way, I don't eat sugar either and for the same reasons.
I am in perfect health and I plan to stay that way, even if I have to give up the things that taste good. I consider it a type of addiction, just my opinion.
Thanks for the questions Nick. I have one for you: Are you perhaps in the meat industry of some sort?
I really wish the researchers would nail this one down a little better. Now that I'm in the latter half of my 40s eating light has become more and more of an imperative and LEAN red meats would be a perfect component if they didn't have this pall hanging over them. As it is they are yet one more thing on the "this is probably a bad choice list". As it is, we eat lean red meat 1-4 times a week at a serving size of 3oz cooked.

I'm just waiting for the news to break that lean red meat is really good for you.... and it's veggies that are the health menace! The more we learn, the more we seem to find out that "all things in moderation" really is the key.
I find it surprising that the vegetarian is getting attacked for promoting a healthy lifestyle. I guess people dont like to have their meat consumption questioned! Half these bloggers sound like they have been avid followers of the late Dr. Atkins. Nick, if meat is the "ideal fuel for the human frame", then why do vegetarians live on average 6 to 10 years longer than non-vegetarians, have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, and are something like 8 or 9 times less likely to be obese? Additionally you state meat is best served as close to raw as possible...which opens us up to the joys of E. coli and parasites. Most nutritionists will tell you that beans are a superfood-full of fiber, antioxidants, protein, and if prepared correctly should not cause flatulence in most people. And no one has even touched upon colon cancer yet! I completely agree with the statements of eliminating processed foods though....I suspect things like trans fats have caused more heart disease than we are aware of. Sorry for the long response, but I didn't think it was fair that Betty Ann was being attacked.
As a veterinary medical student, I would just like to put in a word. First of all, nutrition is extremely complicated and can't be summed up in one little blog or comment. Eating meat in moderation is natural, but in the hunter-gatherer society from which we evolved, meat was not eaten nearly as much as what was gathered, it was a rare treat. Eating meat in moderation is not bad for you, and yes, it can be beneficial, but this also depends on the kind of meat you are eating and what that animal was fed. Beef cattle in the U.S. are fed to have an increased quantity of intramuscular fat called "marbling." This makes it all the more unhealthy, and may in fact be correlated to the increase in Type 2 diabetes and obesity, despite a decrease in overall consumption. In addition, all that corn they are fed is fertilized by synthetic nitrogen, which is produced from oil purchased overseas. The average beef steer consumes nearly a barrel of oil before being sent to slaughter at 18 months of age. So if you think eating meat is what red-blooded Americans do, think again, you are supporting OPEC and all the foreign countries who export oil to the U.S. And contrary to popular belief, vegetarians have a plethora of sources for highly digestible proteins, such as eggs, milk, yogurt, cheeses, lentils, beans, etc. When you are vegan, it becomes much more complicated, however, it can still be done in an educated manner. As to eating nothing but raw eggs and meat products, yeah, maybe you've lost weight and your bloodwork currently looks good, but just wait 20 years, you'll be dead from kidney failure. There is a native tribe in Africa that subsists entirely off of meat, and no one there survives over the age of 45 (but they are all very nice and thin).
"Will, your comment was irresponsible and misleading. You don't 'live long enough to get Alzheimers'. Alzheimers is a disease and NOT a normal part of the aging process."

You're absolutely correct, Alzheimer's has nothing to do with the aging process and all those afflicted are deviants! Get over my example; I was making a point. Death is a normal part of the aging process. I'm just saying that people need to get off the fixation with food. Eat when you're hungry; don’t eat when you're not. If you want beef, eat it. I mean are people planning on sitting around when they're 90+ laughing wildly at how many extra days they get to watch tv because of a lifetime of low sodium chicken soup? Just a thought, I’m not advocating people to drop their heart healthy diets.

Regarding the environment: if we stop eating beef, do you realize how the price of BSA will skyrocket? Not to mention the question of what people will eat. Corn? Thanks for driving up the cost of gas yet again!
Listen to you people, red meat kills? I mean what the hell is going on. These doctors are the same ones that can't make up their minds if eggs are good for us or not. One day eggs are good the next they aren't doctors point the their "medical facts" but Their "medical facts" Change from day to day and sometimes minute to minute so, that begs the question why do they call it fact when in fact it is only an opinion?
I like meat and always will. I am extremly healthy. gym 5 days a week, cardio 3 times a week. yoga every other day. I am in perfect health. I get checked every year. so blab on about bad this and that. if meat was so bad then we would have died out eons ago.....

I think it's all genetic...I eat lots of red meat and dairy and my cholestrol levels are very good.....
I agree with some posters. It's not the meat itself, it's the additives that business puts in it in order to increase the yeild to maximum. So many chemicals in todays can we possibly know what causes what. How can anyone mention the increase of diabetes and heart disease and not mention the omission of exercise from our lives. In the 1930's people walked to the stores. Today we are lucky if they walk to the mailbox.
1 acre can create (in one year) 10,000 lbs of potatoes or....250 pounds of meat. And we choke our farmlands with grain corn fields to feed cows that commune in their own feces.... Meat sucks.
All things in moderation and, more importantly, all things in BALANCE.

Like red meat? Good, take that with a side of starches and greens.

I happen to love meat cooked over a fire. Granted, I suppose it's not like I can't use the fat - my body never seems to retain any no matter what I eat or how much. However, I also prefer rarer meats (does this lower the numbers of carcinogen? That wasn't made clear), and the flavor of organic is much better (unfortunately it is more expensive, so I'll have to cut back a bit soon). I agree with whoever said I'd like to see a study done comparing "factory" meats to good free range organics.

Too much of ANYTHING can be bad for you. You can overdose on all the essential vitamins just like you can on fat, medications, or anything else. If you like meat and your health is at risk, try cutting portions and just chewing it slower. That way you still get to savor all the flavor without gulping down as much. I consider myself lucky - my body rarely fails to tel me what I should and shouldn't be eating. I get cravings based on what nutrients I'm missing. If I'm full up on something that comes in red meat, the thought of eating it makes me sick, so I won't have steak for dinner that night. Sometimes learning to listen to your body is the best thing for you, I think. It's worked well for me, at least.

But for every bad effect we find of a food, we tend to find something good later. Speaking of which, I haven't been keeping up. Are eggs good for you or bad for you this year?
Vegetarianism is not healthier.

A moderate diet with meats, fats and grains fruits and vegetables and other foods is the best.

Look at your teeth. They are made for eating meat not grass!

Furthermore, humans have been eating meat for thousands upon thousands of years.

There is NO ideal diet. If anything, natural selection comes into play. Our diets were much more static in the past and seasonal with tremendous amounts of exercise. The real problem may be the LACK of physical labor.
To: Frank~
I don't know about your teeth but my molars are flat like vegetarian animals. Yours are all sharp and pointed like a carnivore? Wow, you must amaze your dentist!
There are lots of similarities we have with vegetarian animals. For example: did you know the colon of a carnivore is much shorter than humans to relieve the body of the rotting flesh they have eaten?
Did you know that vegetarian animals suck their water while carnivores lick? Like straws much?
Damn folks, I would have a lot more respect if you would just say I want to die eating what I want!
That is what smokers say!
People give me the excuse that we are all going to die anyway but who wants open heart surgery? Chemo anyone? Diabetes please? HELL NO! I want to live a quality life but that is MY choice. If you don't, then that is simply YOUR choice.
Whether you eat red meat, smoke, skydive, or report the news from a war zone, you know the risks!
Betty Ann, regarding your grandmother, I simply asked for clarification about her diet (and rightfully so). I am still somewhat confused regarding your own stance. You endorse John Robbins’ book, yet he advocates a vegan diet – no beef, no fish and no “low fat meat.”

You also refer to your own studies, but I’m not sure why these studies must remain private. Your conclusions also happen to fly in the face of most legitimate theories of human evolution. Keep in mind that survival of the fittest never “came in” at any particular point in history. It has always been and will always be present in biology. You also refer to your physician agreeing with you. Well I happen to know many physicians and they wholeheartedly agree with me. Hopefully, by that last sentence, you can see that it’s a silly thing to use in support of one’s argument.

Regarding the Blood Type diet developed by Dr. D’Adamo, you have completely distorted the concepts of the diet to fit your argument. D’Adamo clearly states that Type O is the oldest blood type, not Type A as you claim. And what diet best fits this type O, apparently the oldest type, according to him? Beef, lamb, venison, etc. Not just red meat, but copious amounts of it. To anyone else reading this blog, I implore you to do the research for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it. So according to D’Adamo’s worldview, humans were hunter-gatherers at first, and the other blood types (A, B, AB) all came afterwards. So let’s count Dr. D’Adamo among the physicians who disagree with you. For the record, I don’t necessarily even believe in this diet. But regardless of their veracity, other blog readers need to know that you have grossly misrepresented D’Adamo’s ideas.

You mention the anecdote of your son growing very tall on a vegetarian diet. Well, I have an anecdote to share as well, and it involves a much larger number of people. I have befriended many Indians (not Native Americans but those from India) and their families all mention how the generations raised from childhood in America consistently grow relatively taller than their parents. The consensus among them is that the inclusion of more animal foods consistent with American cuisine has spurred this shift. Again, this isn’t my conclusion, it’s theirs. However, I have respect for it because these families are initimately familiar with both American and Indian cooking. Back in India, the majority of these families relied heavily on vegetarian dishes due to religious and/or economic/environmental matters. So we can all find a person here who was raised on red meat, one there who grew strong eating grains and salads. Exceptions abound. I am arguing about what is best for humanity in general. And what was best for the most primitive humans.

Wouldn’t you agree that a perfect protein should be able to be eaten raw? I know I would. Well, soy protein is toxic in its raw state. As much as I may disagree with your stance, I would never wish you or anyone else to eat raw soybeans. They will make you quite sick. Soybeans contain lectins, which agglutinate blood cells and can trigger inflammatory reactions. They are also rife with inhibitors of critical enzymes (i.e trypsin) that our bodies produce to break down the foods we ingest. Are you suggesting that our bodies are ill-equipped to handle the perfect protein? Phytic acid is another anti-nutrient in soy, one which blocks the absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. So I ask you, if soy is so perfect, why would it be so difficult on our bodies in its raw state? Truly, the only form of soy protein I recommend is fermented soy such as tempeh or miso. The fermentation process breaks down these enzyme inhibitors and makes soy a more digestible food. Unfortunately, the vast majority of soy burgers, soy hot dogs, soy cheese and soy whatever-else-you-can-conjure-up products do not contain the fermented form.

Another blogger mentioned that raw meat exposes us to the possibility of E. coli contamination and parasites. Well, grass-fed cattle have been proven to be virtually free of pathogenic E. coli bacteria. Notice I say pathogenic, because all animals harbor some form of this microbe. However, when cattle are fed grains rather than grasses, the change in acidity of the digestive tract makes the environment more friendly to pathogenic strains of E. coli. These strains may potentially be passed on to humans, at which time people get very sick. Again, look this stuff up for yourself. I’m not making it up; it’s readily available on Google Scholar. And parasites? First of all, if parasites were such a problem, you would rarely see animals eating other animals in nature. Obviously that is not the case, and parasites have done little to change the course of evolution in this sense. Since we are a product of evolution, not just a casual observer, it seems reasonable to apply this thinking to us as well. We can also get parasites from bug bites. Does that mean we should never go outside?

Finally, Betty Ann inquired if I am somehow affiliated with the meat industry. My answer is a resounding no. I will add that it is very naïve to think that other types of food producers do not have a similarly powerful, if not more powerful, lobby. Do you think the grain lobby consists of two people in a back office? Not likely. Consider how many processed foods contain corn syrup – corn is a grain, keep in mind – and how many large corporations rely on this input. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc. You think they don’t have a vested interest in seeing the corn (a type of grain) crop remain abundant? Is it possible that you are employed by General Mills or one of the other major cereal producers? Are you among those who would be financially crushed by the realization that most conventional grain products – even whole grains – are generally harmful to our health and have no place on our kitchen tables?
Hi Nick,
It seems that we will just have to agree to disagree. I have NO vested interested in my health choices. I am only concerned with the general health of the population and the health of the planet.
. . Tell you what Nick. You live your lifestyle and I will live mine. Let's check in in 10~20 years and see how we are both doing, OK?
Good Luck sweetie~ I have a feeling you are going to need it!
I have lupus and eating a diet high in red meat will destroy my kidneys. I do not want to be on machine to keep me alive and I do not want to have to undergo a kidney transplant. That would be my furture if I were to make a habit of eating red meet. I only have red meat once a quarter.
So, red meat causes cancer? Surprise, surprise. What doesn't? Air pollution is a big risk. Shall we all quit breathing? Small children get cancer everyday and there is no known reason why. No one has proven that any one thing causes cancer. If we knew then we could end it. Even non-smokers get lung cancer. God told us it was okay to eat meat. He just said not to be a glutten. I believe most of our issues with health problems is that we overeat. Most people (myself included) probably 3 or 4 servings of meat in one meal without even realizing it.
LOL I find it a bit of an oxymoron that Abby says we are supporting OPEC by consuming meat but it's ok to consume milk, yogurt and cheese which comes from cows. I'm sure there would be less cows around if they weren't eaten but to consume dairy products is not helping the "OPEC situation". If you're going to be a vegetarian, that to me means you eat nothing but fruits and vegetables. Anything related to an animal would be off limits so forget creating a category of Veganism. Either you eat meat and the products these animals provide or you don't.

I guess individuals will make up their own little rules to justify why some of the things they eat should be eaten and others not.

In case you're wondering, yes I do eat red meat but once a week at most and no not a huge steak although the thought of one makes my mouth water...
Betty Ann, since your last post failed to address a single point made in my last post, I assume you are throwing in the towel. I'm sorry that you have nothing else to stand on in this debate but a patronizing tone. The good news is that your frustration can be easily relieved. All you have to do is reconsider your notion of what is healthy and what is not. It can be very difficult for people to release their dogmatic beliefs. I wish you the best.
Isn't meat on the food pyramid?
One last comment Nick, I promise~
I'm dogmatic? And you're not? HMM.
There are two side to this discussion ( I hate arguments don't you?), so there is the research that says people live longer and healthier if they eat less red meat, there are those who think it does not matter, and there are those who think red meat is actually good for you. Dr. Atkins was one of those. Ahh yes, he died of a heart attack didn't he?
The point is, I read all those studies and I made a choice. You did the same.
I decided not to take the chance that red meat would make me sick. You decided to take the chance.
Maybe you are right and I am wrong or vice versa. Either way WE made our choices after we read the rules. End of discussion? I hope so.
Peace and health wishes to you~
I used to be a pretty strict lacto-ovo vegetarian, but now I eat fish and seafood in moderation and an occasional serving of low-fat turkey and chicken. My reasons for choosing a diet that minimizes meat has as much to do with expense as it does with anything else - meat is an expensive protein when compared to a can of beans. I would like to be able to afford lean, grass-fed, organic, locally grown, free range meats but that isn't really in my budget. Combined correctly, different veggies and legumes can provide folks with the full gamut of essential and non-essential proteins they need. I am also not a huge fan of dairy products, having grown up with dairy allergies that prevented me from consuming milk, ice cream, and other childhood staples. I never learned to drink milk and, as an adult, the thought of gulping down a glass of milk (unless it is chocolate milk, of course) is slightly repulsive. I am not advocating soy milk as an alternative beverage, either - why don't people drink more water?

Finally, I would also like to point out that a major factor in my decision to eliminate most meats from my diet was the toll the meat industry has on the environment. It is true that the ecological footprint of a cow far exceeds the footprint of the equivalent quantity of grain or veggies. Every step of the process of raising an animal in a typical cattle/pig farm requires more energy, chemicals, and water than growing grains or vegetables. Also, large scale animal farms (particularly pig farms) have caused some horrible environmental problems (pfisteria in North Carolina rivers and lakes due to hog farm run-off was a major issue near where I lived a few years back). So, what I really hope for is the conversion of more of our meat industry over to sustainable, less environmentally harmful practices, and healthy, more environmentally friendly meat became less expensive. That way people who choose to eat meat will have better access to healthy, sustainably raised meats.
Hey, wow, I didn't know molars were flat and made for grinding plants.

Not meant to eat meat?

I guess my eye teeth are sharp for no reason then.

Biggest thing people need to remember in all their bashing of one another is that one size DOES NOT fit all. Yes, going veg may be the best thing for one person. BUt not for another.

Veggies do not have enough fat content for my hummingbird metabolism, and I just plain can't hold down enough sugar to fatten myself up beyond underweight proportions. Not to mention about once a month I seem to get deficient in many of the nutrients contained in red meat. A vegetarian diet wouldn't work for me. Vitamin supplements? A lot of those contain animal products as well.

But I also don't overindulge on meat. Just enough to keep myself healthy.

Other people do much better on vegetables. If that's what you want and are healthiest with, great! Nobody's trying to force you to eat meat. Just as long as you don't try to force them not to. No need to fight about it.

But don't compare it to smoking, please. Somebody smoking near me means the smoke is likely to get into my lungs just because that's how things work that diffuse in the air. If I eat meat near you, my meat isn't going to slip into your stomach.
Dr. Atkins died of a head injury, from a fall on an icy sidewalk. Not a heart attack.
About Dr. Atkins:
I was curious so I did a web search. I think everyone should do a web search and find out the truth for themselves. My search says he fell because he had a heart attack.
I also found out he had clogged ateries and the autopsy showed a previous heart attack. He was 49!
sorry I typed the wrong numbers. Dr. Adkins was 73, I think!
we are omnivores.....molars are designed for grinding...incisors designed for cutting into flesh whether it be the flesh of fruit or the flesh of animals....

we are omnivores because we are adapted to eat anything from plants to animals/eggs.

i personally love eating raw fish.....its the best thing ever......parasites no parasites the feeling of flesh melting in your mouth is savory....i personally dont like the cooked taste of meat.....and i would eat steak raw.....i always find myself drooling over it and poking it at the store but i never have because of the fear of getting sick.....but i endulge in large juicy cold chunks of raw fish....sashimi....not sushi...and of course i eat my veggies and fruits so i never have problems. i only get problems after eating cooked food.
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