[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

From The Desk Of Clarence Bass (www.cbass.com)

If you enjoy and benefit from our website and products, tell your friends.

horizontal rule

New Study: Red Meat Is Bad for You

Healthy and Satisfying Protein & Fat Options Are Many

We’ve long been urged to go easy on red meat, but rarely are we told how much we can safely eat or what we can substitute without sacrificing taste and nutrition. Scientists from Harvard School of Public Health and elsewhere have undertaken to answer these questions by studying the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 men and women (all health professionals) over more than 20 years. The bad news is that red meat in any amount appears to increase the risk of premature death. The good news is that a wide range of foods can be substituted for red meat, satisfying the need for protein and fat without the health risk. What’s more, eating red meat in moderation from time to time appears to be low risk.

Let’s drill down into the study and see what Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, and postdoctoral fellow An Pan, senior and lead authors, respectively, both from Harvard, found. The full report appeared online March 12, 2012, in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A unique feature of the study is that Pan and colleagues differentiated between unprocessed and processed red meat, i.e. steak compared to hot dogs or bologna. Another distinctive feature is that they assessed the effect of substituting various foods for red meat. Participants were queried about their eating habits when entering the study and again at four year intervals, for 28 years in some cases. I believe you’ll agree that the results were well worth the time and effort.

Pan et al documented 23,936 deaths (including 5910 from cardiovascular disease and 9464 from cancer) during 2.96 million person years of follow-up. As noted above, even small amounts red meat were found to increase risk. “Any red meat you eat constitutes a risk,” said Pan. For example, a daily serving of steak (the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study; the death rate for processed red meat was considerably higher, at 20%. By contrast, eating less than one half serving of unprocessed red meat per day was estimated to prevent more than half of the deaths, 9.3% in men and 7.6% in women. Portion size does matter; moderation pays.

Better yet, substituting one serving of other foods (including fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy, and whole grains) for a serving of red meat reduced the odds of death during the study by up to 19 percent.

What is it about red meat that’s so dangerous? Frankly, scientists aren’t exactly sure; many factors are probably involved. Previous studies have associated red meat consumption with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Several studies have suggested that vegetarians significantly live longer than nonvegetarians, but this might not be due to the absence of red meat alone.

Saturated fat and cholesterol may partially explain the association with cardiovascular disease. Dietary iron, especially heme iron found primarily in red meat, has been positively associated with myocardial infarction and fatal coronary heart disease.

In the case of processed red meat, sodium and nitrites may account for the additional danger involved. High sodium content may increase risk through its effect on blood pressure. Nitrites have been related to arterial dysfunction and impaired insulin response.

Regarding cancer mortality, red meat intake has been associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer and several other forms of cancer. Compounds created by high temperature cooking are potentially carcinogenic.

*  *  *

In summary, your odds of living a long and healthy life are better if you avoid red meat in any form; save red meat for special occasions. Stick with fish, poultry, nuts, beans, non- or low-fat diary, and whole grains most of the time.

Carol and I enjoy red meat, but we don’t make it a habit. Carol makes buffalo burgers every now and then, but she goes easy on the buffalo and long on the tomato, lettuce, onion, and zesty mustard. She also uses a mayo made with soymilk; it's low in calories and long on texture. We get the taste of lean red meat with very little downside.

We hadn’t had a burger out for years when friends invited us to an Irish pub to see their daughter dance. The Irish dancing was spectacular—and we found two other things that delighted us: Bass Ale and a burger voted the best in Albuquerque. The burger caught our eye because of the name: “Burger in Paradise.” We split a pint of Bass Ale—because it was named after us, of course. We liked the dark color and taste, and the fact that the Bass red-triangle trademark was the first to be registered in England. The pub serves up info along with the libations. The Burger in Paradise lived up to its name. It was really good. We also split it—and ordered two salads.

The Irish pub later added a second location near our home. We go every couple of months or sometimes when we have out-of-town guests. Carol and I always split the ale and the burger.  

horizontal rule

Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com , FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 001-505 266-9123

[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

Copyright © 2012 Clarence and Carol Bass. All rights reserved.