Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flawed Study: Lots of red meat increases mortality risk

The study below is a perfect example of the 30 second sound bytes I speak of constantly. I am infuriated with this particular study. It is flawed, inaccurate and misleading to the general public. Red meat provides us with iron, zinc, B12, B6 and a host of other health promoting heart saving nutrients. The flaw in the study? First, processed meats should never be compared to whole unprocessed animal proteins. This is contradictory to a natural diet. Most importantly, what were the other factors? It is my experience that many in these AARP groups dine out frequently exposing themselves to unhealthy polyunsaturated vegetable oils, indulge in dessert items frequently which in turn elevate blood sugar and triglycerides and unknowingly also consume trans saturated fatty acids. What kind of blood tests were performed during these studies? Were the subjects consuming factory farmed beef with added hormones and antibiotics? Of course they were.

I would consume red meat daily and feel comfortable as long as all of my other factors were in place. In other words, consuming 100% natural grass fed beef is as healthy as consuming salmon daily. Why? Well, grass fed beef contains omega 3 fatty acids while factory farmed beef is 100% omega 6. The abundance of omega 6 fatty acids in the Standard American Diet are the direct cause of inflammation that leads to heart disease and cancers.

That's my "beef" with this study. What omega 3 fatty acids are you consuming?

By CARLA K. JOHNSON, AP Medical Writer - Mon Mar 23, 9:15 PM PDT
CHICAGO - The largest study of its kind finds that older Americans who eat large amounts of red meat and processed meats face a greater risk of death from heart disease and cancer. The federal study of more than half a million men and women bolsters prior evidence of the health risks of diets laden with red meat like hamburger and processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and cold cuts.

Calling the increased risk modest, lead author Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute said the findings support the advice of several health groups to limit red and processed meat intake to decrease cancer risk. Misty notes: grouping the two together is not a balanced assesment.

The findings appear in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That's compared to those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week.

Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less.

For processed meats, the increased risks for large quantities were slightly lower overall than for red meat. The researchers compared deaths in the people with the highest intakes to deaths in people with the lowest to calculate the increased risk.
People whose diets contained more white meat like chicken and fish had lower risks of death.

The researchers surveyed more than 545,000 people, ages 50 to 71 years old, on their eating habits, then followed them for 10 years. There were more than 70,000 deaths during that time.
Study subjects were recruited from AARP members, a group that's healthier than other similarly aged Americans. That means the findings may not apply to all groups, Sinha said. The study relied on people's memory of what they ate, which can be faulty.

In the analysis, the researchers took into account other risk factors such as smoking, family history of cancer and high body mass index.

In an accompanying editorial, Barry Popkin, director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote that reducing meat intake would have benefits beyond improved health.

Livestock increase greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming, he wrote, and nations should reevaluate farm subsidies that distort prices and encourage meat-based diets. Misty Notes: Sustainable farming is our solution. Consuming grass fed beef is our superior choice for our bodies and the environment.

"We've promoted a diet that has added excessively to global warming," Popkin said in an interview. Misty Notes: This is factory farming at work.

Successfully shifting away from red meat can be as easy as increasing fruits and vegetables in the diet, said Elisabetta Politi of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. Misty Notes: As long as one is not insulin resistant, low glycemic fruits are recommended.

"I'm not saying everybody should turn into vegetarians," Politi said. "Meat should be a supporting actor on the plate, not the main character." Misty Notes: Studies indicate those who consume moderate amount of "clean and natural" animal proteins live 6 years longer than vegetarians.

The National Pork Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association questioned the findings.

Dietitian Ceci Snyder said in a statement for the pork board that the study "attempts to indict all red meat consumption by looking at extremes in meat consumption, as opposed to what most Americans eat."

Lean meat as part of a balanced diet can prevent chronic disease, along with exercise and avoiding smoking, said Shalene McNeill, dietitian for the beef group. Misty Notes: Grass fed beef is leaner beef. Remember, corn fattens all of us!

For clean sources of meats, go to
http://www.eatwild.com/ for a sustainable farm near you! If you're in the Sonoma County area, I purchase my grass fed ground beef at Andy's Produce. Eel River 100% grass fed and the taste is wonderful. Do your body good, eat sustainable beef a few times a week! I'd avoid the tuna!


Tiffany said...

Thanks for posting this Misty! I'm so sick of flawed studies, set up to "get" a particular result and other ways of manipulating data. Thanks for exposing yet another of these.

Misty Humphrey said...

It is frustrating Tiffany. I do wish we would see more studies on the effects of a traditional whole foods lifestyle! As Enig has stated, there is no money nor motivation in a whole foods study.