The Harvard School of Public Health has announced the results of a painstaking 20-year study: fat does not make you fat, or sick, or anything else we’ve been taught about fat. In fact, a high-fat, high-protein diet does not contribute to heart disease. This is a mammoth issue in health right now, but the debate has been building behind the scenes of the drug, medical and food industries since the 1940s. I’ll be addressing it frequently.
For now, bear in mind, I have to stress that I am talking good fats (fish, avocados, nuts and the like). This is not a license to gorge on bacon (though I don’t think saturated fat is the health monster it’s been made out to be).
For those who have a hankering for some clickativity, the article as printed in Time this week.
I can’t tell you how furious I am about what I feel is the meat industry’s blatant disregard for human health. While I’m no vegetarian, I saw this study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, and let’s just say, I’m not buying the “Happy Cows” line.
The researchers looked at 90,000 women. That’s a huge study. They compared US and UK women, and here’s what they found:
Eating more than 1.5 servings of meat daily doubles a young woman’s risk of breast cancer. What concerns me is the type of cancer which had double the risk: hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. To me, that says something pretty sobering about the meat industry’s production habits.
Both the study, and the BBC News article that covered it, are cautious to merely “suggest” a link between eating red meat and increasing – doubling – the risk of breast cancer. It doesn’t take much to read between the lines here.
The reason I think this study is really important to highlight is not because I hope to bandy a statistic like “double the risk!” about. (Remember the Statistics Game: always consider context and relative risk or results.) It’s important because the women who ate high amounts of red meat had double the risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. That is a big issue, namely, because the American meat industry uses growth hormone like it’s manna from Heaven. Growth hormone helps the animals get bigger, faster, which translates more profit – but I’m pretty skeptical about how this practice could possibly be in the interest of public health. I just wonder how these people sleep at night knowing their profits come at the expense of other human beings.
Personally, I believe it’s clear that human physiology supports being omnivorous. No culture anywhere at any time has done without some sort of animal flesh, whether it’s fish, beef or reindeer. So I’m not “anti-meat”. However, I am strongly opposed to the way meat is produced in this country: quickly, unethically, with little regard for the animals or the people eating the animals. That’s why I only buy meat that is free-range, local, organic and definitely hormone-free.
The researchers were careful not to draw any ultimate conclusions. I think we can probably begin to draw our own, with some additional critical considerations:
1) Processed meats generally contain a chemical known as heterocyclic acid, which has been shown to cause cancer;
2) Red meat, of course, contains iron, which can sometimes encourage the growth of some types of tumors (though this isn’t a significant concern, likely);
3) The standard line: “The biggest risk factors for breast cancer remain gender and increasing age.” This from specialist Maria Leadbeater, quoted in the BBC article. Fair enough.
Far be it from us to know how this is possible. Even scientists are scratching their heads like lice on mice. This time, it’s good old BK bringing you an impossibly-high-calorie meal. It would be funny, except it’s real. Tell them to knock it off! They’ll listen.
This is the “meatnormous” morning catastrophe BK is calling their Enormous Omelet Sandwich. Weighing in at 730 calories without sauce or sides, you’ll get 6 strips of bacon, two eggs, two slices of “cheese”, a giant refined bun, and a sausage patty the size of an ottoman. Comes complete with 410 calories of fat and enough sodium to keep the Titanic afloat.
You’re still here? Go eat these foods!
Okay, we cringe a little bit at the word “superfood”. No food wears a cape. Still, there are foods that pack major nutritional punch.
A few of our top picks:
1. Berries, because…
- Blueberries are best, but blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, strawberries and bilberries are all excellent
- They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins
- They fight infections (especially urinary tract infections)
- How much: 1/2 cup whenever you like
2. Fish, because…
- Choose deep-’n-cold-water fish like salmon and red tuna
- Northern Pacific is better than Atlantic (less pollution)
- You can’t get enough Omega-3 fatty acids
- How much: twice a week, or more, plus an Omega supplement
- Remember: Don’t fry or bread it!
3. Dark, Leafy Greens, because…
- Pick spinach, kale, bok choy, chard, dark lettuce
- Greens contain beta-carotene, C, folate, iron, magnesium, carotenoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
- Greens reduce your risk of diabetes because they’re easy on your insulin response mechanism. In other words, they won’t give you a sugar rush, jelly belly, or mood swing.
Look for more heroic foods soon. No spandex tights – we promise.
Technorati Tags: greens, spinach, kale, bok choy, chard, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, nutrients, magnesium, iron, folate, beta-carotene, omega-3′s, fish, salmon, red tuna, berries, anthocyanins, superfoods
The Quote of the Day, from Pizza Hut‘s website:
“Pizza can be a part of a well-balanced meal. Ingredients in our pizzas include protein, complex carbohydrates, Vitamin A and calcium. And, depending on the toppings you choose, our pizzas have items from all of the four major food groups – meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and grains!”
And for dessert, have some Pop Tarts, because they’re fortified with iron and niacin!
Even better, have a slice of their cockroach-topped pizza for an extra protein boost:
Feeling some clickativity?
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