As a sustainable, pasture raised meat farmer, I’ve been asked a lot recently about what I think about the recent news that red meat causes cancer.
My reply? Yes, of course it does I’ve been saying that for YEARS… At least… that is if you are eating the majority of meat available in this country instead of ours.
The vast majority of farm animals out there are being pumped with drugs. My neighbor probably thinks we’re crazy for NOT adding estrogen implants to our beef – he makes just a bit more money per steer that way (5 cents per pound).
Those estrogen drugs that make my neighbor the extra cash, however, are shown to promote the growth of breast cancer. The George W. Bush administration changed the law so these drugs are allowed to actually be IN THE FOOD that you eat.
Agriculture and consumer goods are a big shell game – when enough consumers demanded steroid free meat, “They” delivered with meat full of the estrogen cancer promoting hormones described above. When we demanded hormone free meat, “They” went to a class of drugs more commonly used to treat asthma, “Beta Agonist”. The one thing you can be sure of is that they didn’t STOP using drugs to boost the bottom line.
This class of drug is in around 80% of the beef, pork and turkey in the store.
These drugs are dangerous and banned in 160 countries. They cause tachycardia, enlarged hearts, and other serious complications… In fact, the label on the drug added to the animal’s feed says “Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure”.
All of our processed meats are free of synthetic nitrates. Some of them (not all) have celery powder added which has naturally occurring nitrates. These are added to accordance to state law when required.
That being said, I think the data is clear that the processed bread people eat WITH that slice of deli ham is more likely to cause colon cancer than than the ham itself. Processed foods and sugar are WAY more inflammatory to your bowls than any piece of bacon (conventional or otherwise) and high blood sugar is linked to higher incidences of cancer.
So go on, eat up that summer sausage and maybe skip the caramel mocha latte.
Dec 01, 2015 at 12:27 PM
Great discussion about the (non) news surrounding the WHO red meat scare. This podcast took a deep dive into many specifics about how they came to the conclusion, and what it all really means: essentially not much, especially if you get your meat from someone like Jack. Thanks Jack!! It's the best coverage of the WHO cancer classification that I came across: http://www.latestinpaleo.com/paleo-podcast/2015/10/31/latest-in-paleo-146-red-meat-cancer-and-who.html
Dec 03, 2015 at 10:02 AM
Thanks! The podcast is interesting -- whew, I thought I talked a lot! Learning about how WHO classifies cancer causing chemicals is interesting and how it doesn't really have anything to do with the potency is also interesting... something can be classified the same as smoking, but smoking is maybe 200 times more potent than the other item... they'll still be in the same category as far as WHO is concerned. I really mostly took the study from the angle that 'pretty much all meat has cancer causing chemicals ADDED to it, so if COURSE it causes cancer' I get that some of the working theories are that other parts are a contributing factor, but it seems silly to ignore the fact that factory meat isn't safe to eat regardless of how it is prepared. Hope you are well!
Dec 03, 2015 at 11:25 AM
I had the same reaction that you did. When I heard about their classification, I told someone that I wasn't too surprised as most meat is fed grains doused with roundup and if I'm not mistaken, glyphosate is also being classified by the WHO as a cancer promoter, although I'm not sure at what level. It would be super hard to achieve, but I would love to see a study showing the difference in the health effects of CAFO, vs pasture based meat consumption. Surely by adding toxins and unnatural diets into our meat supply, it has caused issues with our own health. Yet it seems no governmental body is talking about this, even if it is well known in health circles.
Dec 03, 2015 at 10:20 PM
For sure --- glad we're not alone in that thinking! Yes, I believe you are correct that roundup is considered a cancer promoter... it is pretty clear that conventional grains are NOT safe to eat even if they are fed to a pig or cow first! Unfortunately too much of policy, like some WHO work, is dictated not by science but by lobbyists -- look at the sugar recommendations where the US Congress said they would refuse to fund the organization if they recommended too low of sugar intake -- no doubt due to the GMO sugar industry in the US.
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