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Has ANY study shown eating lots of meat is good for longevity and health?

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  • Has ANY study shown eating lots of meat is good for longevity and health?

    First, I'm currently practicing paleo, consisting of about 50% meat (grass-fed beef, natural pork) and 50% fruits and veggies. (With some fermented dairy mixed in.)

    However, I am very aware of "cognitive dissonance". I've noticed that myself (and many other paleo enthusiasts) tend to look for data that backs up what we believe. Also, if anything goes against what we believe, we trounce the study or article and point out everything wrong with it.

    As I've studied "healthy longevity" more, it makes me wonder if I am on the right track. I look at cultures who live long, healthy lives, and they seem to eat way less meat, more fish, and even more veggies than we do. In fact, it doesn't appear that any group of healthy centenarians lived on a diet similar to ours. They tend to be much more vegetable heavy, with much less meat, and dare i say it, much less exercise. (Though, not less ACTIVITY, which is a different animal.)

    As we look at the Okinawans, Sardinians, Cretes, and others, none of them follow a diet like ours. (Other than they do eat lots of natural foods.) Some eat wheat, some don't. Some eat rice, some don't. Some eat dairy, some don't. Most eat beans. However, NONE eat lots of meat relative to what we eat.

    Are we on the right track? Have we ignored evidence right in front of us? Or, have we taken those ideas and improved on them? Keep in mind, these groups I've singled out are not just living longer than others, but living longer independently, which is key. (I don't want to live 8 years longer, but in a home.)

    So, basically, give me some data showing something POSITIVE about eating our relatively high quantities of meat. Even an article (not a study) telling a story about a population thriving on meat would give me some hope that I haven't chosen this diet based on my love of meat and butter, rather than true health value.

  • #2
    Are you including fish and eggs in your definition of "meat?"
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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    • #3
      I don't think there is data supporting eating a high meat diet. The reason for that, in my opinion, is that the availability of meat increases as a population has more wealth. However, with the wealth comes the major influx of processed food, industrial oils, etc. So it is very hard to tease apart what happened when disease rates increase.

      I think that a diet that is low is processed foods will promote longevity in general. Whether that be a high carb, lower meat (compared to primal) kitivan and okinawan diet, or a primal diet. If you find that data more compelling, you could certainly experiment and see how you feel. Many people here do a lower meat/fat higher veggie and fruit version of primal and are successful.
      Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

      http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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      • #4
        Yes.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Grumpycakes View Post
          Are you including fish and eggs in your definition of "meat?"
          No, though I could. Oddly enough, it appears both Okinawans and Sardinians actually didn't eat that much fish, though it made up a higher percentage of calories than the SAD. (Mainly because their overall calorie ingestion was quite low.)

          My thread is mainly concerned about beef, pork, and chicken...the meats that seem to make up most of our diets on here. (I know there are exceptions, some may eat way more eggs and fish, with little beef or pork.)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jammies View Post
            I don't think there is data supporting eating a high meat diet. The reason for that, in my opinion, is that the availability of meat increases as a population has more wealth. However, with the wealth comes the major influx of processed food, industrial oils, etc. So it is very hard to tease apart what happened when disease rates increase.

            I think that a diet that is low is processed foods will promote longevity in general. Whether that be a high carb, lower meat (compared to primal) kitivan and okinawan diet, or a primal diet. If you find that data more compelling, you could certainly experiment and see how you feel. Many people here do a lower meat/fat higher veggie and fruit version of primal and are successful.
            I agree, I was just curious if any group has an actual sustained time of relatively high meat eating to compare to.

            I am quite comfortable eating a very decent amount of natural/pastured meat, but I am considering cutting back. (Not based on how I feel, I feel great. (But I also feel great if I eat pizza, I'm not very food sensitive overall.)

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            • #7
              Also, the definition of "meat" in most traditional cultures would include organs and marrow -- the whole animal -- not just the muscle meat that we backwards North Americans eat.
              You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Grumpycakes View Post
                Also, the definition of "meat" in most traditional cultures would include organs and marrow -- the whole animal -- not just the muscle meat that we backwards North Americans eat.
                Yeah, this...so the answer to your question is YES there are many traditional and/or hunter gatherer societies that made their primary source of calories "meat", however I would define that to include mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, eggs....it is all MEAT. I'm sure you've heard of them massai, inuit, blah blah blah.....I can't recall them all right now, but you get the picture.

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                • #9
                  Most of the imperical data available are about conventional meat and that is why more often you would read that meat is not good for an individual. The paleo way eating encourages people to eat grass fed beef and lean meat ie pork or chicken. If you eat eggs then try to get an Omega 3 enriched ones. It is always better to eat wild salmon than farm raised ones.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cayla29s View Post
                    Most of the imperical data available are about conventional meat and that is why more often you would read that meat is not good for an individual. The paleo way eating encourages people to eat grass fed beef and lean meat ie pork or chicken. If you eat eggs then try to get an Omega 3 enriched ones. It is always better to eat wild salmon than farm raised ones.
                    No it doesn't.....old paleo might have, but PRIMAL and most of the paleosphere these days recognize that if you meat is well sourced (grass fed...which you got right) then preferring the FATTY cuts (as our ancestors have) is more beneficial.

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                    • #11
                      It is so hard to get across to people that the fat on grocery store type steaks is full of toxins and to be avoided at all costs.
                      But the fat on grass fed meat is very good for us and that's why it's so dang tasty.
                      My family looked at me like I was nuts when I told them this and to buy from an eat wild farm very close to all of them and stay away from grocery store meats. Knowledge is a wonderful thing

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                      • #12
                        File:Maasai-jump.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia or File:Bundesarchiv Bild 105-DOA0556, Deutsch-Ostafrika, Massaikrieger.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia look pretty damn fit to me. Their traditional diet is meat, milk and blood. All raw.

                        Tercio

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                        • #13
                          What about the plains Indians? How about the reindeer herders of Lapland? The bushmen of Africa? The aborigines of Australia? What about the nomadic people of the Russian steppes and central Asians? How about the Mongolians? I don't know how long these folks lived, but it's likely they consumed a lot of meat and were healthier before the introduction of modern foods.
                          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                            What about the plains Indians? How about the reindeer herders of Lapland? The bushmen of Africa? The aborigines of Australia? What about the nomadic people of the Russian steppes and central Asians? How about the Mongolians? I don't know how long these folks lived, but it's likely they consumed a lot of meat and were healthier before the introduction of modern foods.
                            Isn't it strange that when trying to substantiate our dietary lifestyle, these are the groups we choose? People who may or may not have even lived very long? People who live a livestyle that none of us can relate to at all? People who I, at least, have no interest in living like?

                            I'll admit, I'm tainted right now because I'm reading "The Blue Zones", but I can't help but think we are missing the obvious groups. The Seventh Day Adventists in Linda Loma, CA live relatively normal, modern lifestyles...yet have amazing health. They eat little meat and lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. They DO fast, so that is something we have in common.

                            I'm not arguing that Paleo isn't healthier than the SAD. Hell, I hope Paleo is what we think it is, since I know I can do this for the rest of my life. (Whereas becoming a vegetarian sounds miserable and hard.) I just feel like the actual people who live very long, healthful, happy lives have lived so much different from the Paleo lifestyle.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bob loblaw View Post
                              Isn't it strange that when trying to substantiate our dietary lifestyle, these are the groups we choose? People who may or may not have even lived very long? People who live a livestyle that none of us can relate to at all? People who I, at least, have no interest in living like?

                              I'll admit, I'm tainted right now because I'm reading "The Blue Zones", but I can't help but think we are missing the obvious groups. The Seventh Day Adventists in Linda Loma, CA live relatively normal, modern lifestyles...yet have amazing health. They eat little meat and lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. They DO fast, so that is something we have in common.

                              I'm not arguing that Paleo isn't healthier than the SAD. Hell, I hope Paleo is what we think it is, since I know I can do this for the rest of my life. (Whereas becoming a vegetarian sounds miserable and hard.) I just feel like the actual people who live very long, healthful, happy lives have lived so much different from the Paleo lifestyle.
                              I think this is an interesting way to look at it. I think that humans evolved in such broad living conditions that we are really able to live well on a wide variety of diets - provided we get a few critical things right. Those groups eat a high vegetable, high grain and legume diet, with some meat and they are quite healthy and long lived. So perhaps the commonalities with primal are the most important part.

                              - they are not consuming an excess of calories. I think our bodies can process a lot of things quite well when we are not in caloric excess. Fructose in particular.

                              - they eat unprocessed foods. I remember a story not too long ago about the Linda Loma town freaking out because a fast food restaurant wanted to open. In the absence of industrial seed oils, HFCS, and hyperpalatable processed foods we remain pretty health.

                              - they fast

                              - they encourage lots of movement


                              So the key tenets are not so different. A few food items differ and the macronutrient ratio is different. But the big poisons are still avoided. Personally though, I feel pretty crappy on that type of diet. Always hungry, lots of cravings, lots of fatigue - so it wouldn't work for me.

                              I would LOVE to see a modern group that lived a largely paleo diet studied.
                              Last edited by jammies; 06-30-2012, 03:27 PM.
                              Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                              http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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