Archive | Food

Life is About What Happens Before Something Kills You

Did you feel just a little bit bad eating bacon this morning? Here’s an entertaining read to cheer you up:

The Guardian: Something is going to kill you. Life is about what happens before that

Personally I was feeling particularly good this morning, as I’m fasting on weekday mornings. But then I remembered that fasting is also potentially lethal.


Vegetables Proven to Cause Cancer

Cancer-causing vegetables

Cancer-causing vegetables

Vegetables have been proven to cause cancer. In fact vegetable consumption causes more cancer than any other lifestyle factor in the world.

I’m not kidding. It’s a simple fact.

And it’s not just cancer, it’s heart disease too – in fact vegetables cause 1 in 5 deaths in the US, according to the American Cancer Society, or 480,000 early deaths per year.

Consuming vegetables causes orders of magnitude more deaths than consuming processed meat. This despite yesterday’s breathless headlines, after the WHO declared that eating processed meats (e.g. smoked meats) can increase the risk of colon cancer by a comparatively tiny 20%.

How vegetables can cause cancer

However – and this is crucial – vegetables will only kill you if you prepare them in a dangerous way. In its raw form the tobacco plant is completely benign, possibly even healthy to eat. But if you burn the tobacco vegetable and inhale the smoke… as with cigarettes… it’s VERY bad for you.

Back to the meat

This gives a much needed perspective to yesterday’s cancer alarm. Because it’s not all meat that potentially may contain dangerous substances. It’s processed meat, smoked meat, and possibly even red meat – meat that’s often prepared at high temperatures.

These really high temperatures can produce cancer-causing substances in both vegetables and meat. But of the two, the vegetables (smoking) is by far the worst. The risk increase from eating bacon every day is tiny in comparison:

The Guardian: Meat and tobacco: the difference between risk and strength of evidence

A lot of people in the low-carb community go so far as to completely disregard the processed-meat alarm:

ZoeHarcombe: World Health Organisation, meat & cancer

I don’t think we should ignore this alarm, even if the risk increase is small. It’s still likely true, it makes perfect sense.

If you want to be live a healthy life preferably don’t eat blackened meat, and go easy on the bacon. And don’t smoke vegetables.

Continue Reading →


Can Processed Meat Increase the Risk of Colon Cancer, as WHO Will Claim?

Not the best for your colon?

Not the best for your colon?

The WHO will soon declare that processed meat can increase the risk of colon cancer, according to many papers:

So are they right that there is a connection between processed meat and colon cancer? Yes, probably. I wrote about this in detail seven months ago:

Why Do Meat Eaters Get Colon Cancer More Often?

However, the media frenzy with comparisons to smoking is misguided. Eating plenty of processed meat is associated with about a 20% increased risk of colon cancer. Smoking is associated with a 1,000%+ increased risk of lung cancer, as well as an increased risk of many other cancers. 20% is not 1,000%.

There’s a reason why it took about fifteen minutes to prove the correlation between smoking and lung cancer way back in the 1950s, while the correlation between processed meat and colon cancer is arguably still controversial. The risk increase is just tiny in comparison.

More details and advice in the earlier post: Why Do Meat Eaters Get Colon Cancer More Often?


The Acid-Alkaline Myth

If you eat meat, will your blood become acidic, leading to osteoporosis and cancer? This is what some people still believe.

However, as humans have been eating meat since about forever, it would be pretty weird if our bodies couldn’t handle it without breaking down!

The big Paleo star Chris Kresser gave a talk on the science behind the Acid-Alkaline theories at the recent Paleo f(x) conference. I did a brief video interview with him about it and you can see all of it above.

10 interviews from Paleo f(x)2.8 out of 5 stars5 star0%4 star20%3 star60%2 star0%1 star20%5 ratings536:43

If you want to watch all the ten on-site interviews we did – with people like Mark Sisson – you can check them out right away at the membership site (free trial one month).

10 interviews from Paleo f(x)

In addition to these we did two longer and higher-quality sit-down interviews at the conference. These are coming up as soon as they are edited – there is a lot more work involved with them.


You can also check out the full video of Kresser’s Paleo f(x) talk on our membership site (free trial available).

Kresser-Pfx154.0 out of 5 stars5 star40%4 star40%3 star0%2 star20%1 star0%5 ratings550:17

Why Do Meat Eaters Get Colon Cancer More Often?

Not the best for your colon?

Not the best for your colon?

This post may be controversial – like swearing in the church of low-carb.

Is it unsafe to eat meat? Despite the scare propaganda the answer seems to be no. Meat is a nutritious and great food that humans have always eaten.

Warnings in the media are usually based on extremely uncertain studies – statistics from food questionnaires, where people who eat more meat also smoke more, eat more junk food, exercise less and so forth. Even with this unfair comparison the differences between meat eaters and non-meat eaters are usually small – and sometimes they point in the opposite direction.

In Asia, for example a review of all studies has shown that Asian meat eaters are healthier than non-meat eaters. Asians with a vegetarian orientation seem to get more heart disease and more cancer.

In summary, meat seems to be generally healthy, nutritious and great food. But there’s one exception.

The Exception

The exception, the area that deserves to be taken quite seriously – is the risk of colorectal cancer. For some reason studies repeatedly show that people who eat red – mainly processed – meat specifically get more colon cancer.

The increase in risk for colorectal cancer in people who eat a lot of meat is generally low, around 20%. This can be compared with a massive 1,000% increase of risk for lung cancer for smokers. But even if the increase in risk is small, it’s been shown so often and so consistently that it probably is real.

Two days ago another study was published showing a slightly smaller risk for colorectal cancer in vegetarians. Why does red (processed) meat seem to slightly increase the risk of colorectal cancer? Continue Reading →


Tabloid: “Eating Meat Is Like Smoking Cigarettes”


Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet wins the prize for sensationalism for its headline after yesterday’s confused questionnaire study on meat: “Steak is as dangerous as smoking”.

A bit later in the article comes the most bizarre: the increase in risk only applies to people between 55 and 65. After 65 the cigarettes, I’m sorry – the steak, suddenly becomes a health food. Confused? Don’t be – read yesterday’s post for the details: Is It Dangerous to Eat Meat Before Age 65?

Funnily enough, the article includes comments from Dr. Dahlqvist and me on whether LCHF is dangerous or not. We address the two obvious issues:

  • LCHF is about – exactly what the acronym stands for – less carbohydrates and more fat, not necessarily more meat. You could even adopt a vegetarian LCHF diet, if you want.
  • Yesterday’s study is only based on questionnaires and imaginative statistics, no evidence.

When the researcher behind the questionnaire study, Valter Longo, hears my comment he gets “annoyed”: Continue Reading →


Is It Dangerous to Eat Meat Before Age 65?

Meat the American way. Not in the picture: the drink.

Meat the American way. Not in the picture: the drink.

Is it dangerous to eat meat if you’re between 55 and 65? Will eating lots of meat then suddenly become healthful after you turn 65?

This is the somewhat confusing conclusion that some researchers drew from a new American questionnaire study:

As usual, we have to take sensational headlines with a substantial pinch of salt. This was just a food questionnaire that was sent to some thousand Americans, and the researchers then looked at statistical associations with diseases.

Uncertain Association

As regular readers know, one can’t prove causation by correlating statistics from questionnaire studies. Only ignorant or sensationalism-driven journalists believe so. Unfortunately these two groups seem to constitute the vast majority of all journalists.

On subsequent examination, it turns out that at least 80% of similar findings in uncertain questionnaires are incorrect – see table 4 in the excellent review Why Most Published Research Findings are False.

So a more scientifically correct headline would be “There is a 20 percent chance that meat quadruples the risk of cancer for people under the age of 65 and reduces the risk for older people.” Not as enticing.

The statistical correlation between meat-eating and disease in people under 65 in the U.S. may just as well be due to the fact that meat consumption there is associated with eating junk food, smoking, lack of exercise, less vegetables and in principal any unhealthful lifestyle you can think of.

What, in all of these unhealthful lifestyles, is the cause of disease ? Statistics cannot prove this.

IGF-1 and cancer

Therefore, there are good reasons to ignore the study. But I guess that there’s still some truth behind it. Scientists report that protein (high-quality animal protein in particular) may raise levels of the hormone IGF-1, which stimulates cell division. High levels of IGF-1 may in the long run increase the risk of cancer.

What they don’t mention is that carbohydrates also increase levels of IGF-1, at least as much. Particularly bad carbohydrates in greater quantities radically raise IGF-1 levels. The only thing you can eat that doesn’t significantly increase levels of IGF-1 is fat.

The logical conclusion is that any variation of a low-carbohydrate diet with moderate amounts of protein (and enough fat) is the healthiest in the long run – at least to keep IGF-1 low while still feeling great. How much protein? The amount you need to feel good, feel full and stay strong and healthy. What is this concept called? LCHF.

The really ambitious may add intermittent fasting for maximum effect. Continue Reading →


Proven: Almost Anything Is Better with Bacon


According to an article in Wired almost anything is better with bacon – it’s been mathematically proven.

Mail Online: Forget salt and pepper – BACON is the ultimate seasoning: Research shows rashers make almost all food taste better

Do you know something that doesn’t go with bacon? Continue Reading →


Asian Meat Eaters Are Healthier!

Red meat

Whooops! Asians eating more red meat get LESS cancer and heart disease, according to a new analysis of eight prospective studies.

Sorry T Colin Campbell and every vegan citing from his “China Study” book. Game over?


More about meat and your health

Why are Asian Rice Eaters Thin?