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 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 →