10 Reasons to Cut Meat out of Your Diet
Updated: May 24
The great American reality is that we love meat . . . but the truth is that processed meat is the new cancer stick. If you think about the American diet in relationship to meat, you need to question, at a minimum, the continued eating of anything processed. Hot dogs, deli meat, and frozen meals are just a few on a long list of health affecting foods that you should consider ditching if your suffering from disease or just ready to make the switch.
Photo By Isaac Taylor
“Bacon’s the best. Even the frying of bacon sounds like an applause. YAY, BACON!!!! You wanna hear how good bacon is? To improve other food they wrap it in bacon. If it wasn’t for bacon we wouldn’t even know what a water chestnut is. ‘Thank you, bacon. Sincerely, Water Chestnut the Third.’” ~Jim Gaffigan, comedian
My stepfather is currently fighting cancer. Diagnosed in with multiple myeloma, he has undergone many treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, a bone marrow transplant, cementing of bone fractures in his spine, and a hip replacement for bones that were shattered by growing tumors.
When he was first diagnosed, I brought to my stepfather and mother the research done by Dr. Max Gerson. Dr. Gerson developed the Gerson Therapy, which basically is a nutritional program to rid a person’s body of toxicity and vitamin and mineral deficiency. The program consists of an organic, plant-based diet, raw juices, coffee enemas, and natural supplements.
I did not share it thinking it would be the sole type of treatment for my stepfather, but rather as a supplement to the other “modern” cancer treatments that doctors were already prescribing.
My stepfather and mother dismissed the research and the theory that food is the first medicine and went with the philosophy that he just needed more drugs and more calories. The chemotherapy medication that he currently consumes costs $12,000 per month. Their copay on a fixed, retirement income is $3,000.
The medication cannot be physically touched by anyone’s hands or skin in any way. It must be handled in cups or with gloves and swallowed at the back of the throat. And then every time the patient urinates or defecates, the toilet water needs to be flushed several times, not just once, so that the radiating poisons don’t splash back on anyone.
And as for nutrition, the fast foods roll in every day. Whatever my stepfather is in the mood to eat, like steak or a Big Mac, my mother fulfills every wish because he just needs the calories to keep him alive.
I asked about his diet, and the response is that he can eat anything. After all, it is much simpler to not have to think about his nutrition. It is much easier for any of us to eat only what we desire than to restrict ourselves to what could sustain us nutritionally. My stepfather just takes his pill once a day, and for my mother and stepfather that is enough.
But what if his body could do so much more healing with a healthy diet?
What if what he was eating contributed to his cancer?
What if what he was eating was making his cancer grow?
The World Health Organization and Meat
In October 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The IARC committee consists of twenty-two public health, cancer, and other experts from ten countries and acts as an adviser to the WHO.
The group reviewed eight hundred studies on cancer in relationship to processed meat and red meat. Processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry, or meat byproducts such as blood. Examples of processed meat include hot dogs, ham, sausages, bacon, corned beef, lunchmeat, and beef jerky, as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.
Processed meat is categorized as a Group 1 Carcinogenic, which means that processed meat causes cancer. Other items in the Group 1 Carcinogenic category include asbestos, cigarettes, and alcohol.
The category of red meat refers to all mammalian muscle meat, including beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, venison, and goat. Organic red meat is included in this group since it is mammalian meat. Red meat is categorized as a Group 2a Carcinogenic.
This means that there is a positive association between eating red meat and developing colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States. Diets high in red meat were also linked to pancreatic and prostate cancer.
“Dietary modification is another important approach to cancer control,” WHO stated. “There is a link between overweight and obesity to many types of cancer such as esophagus, colorectum, breast, endometrium and kidney.
Diets high in fruits and vegetables may have a protective effect against many cancers. Conversely, excess consumption of red and preserved meat may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
In addition, healthy eating habits that prevent the development of diet-associated cancers will also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.” This year alone, nearly 1.7 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer.
The great American truth is that we all love bacon. We love meat . . . but the truth is that processed meat is the new cancer stick. If you think about the American diet in relationship to meat, you need to question, at a minimum, the continued eating of any processed meat, including:
· Bacon and sausage
· Hot dogs
· Pizza with meat
· Canned soups with meat
· Frozen meals with meat
· Ravioli and meat pasta foods
· Kid’s meals containing processed meat
These foods cause cancer. I went to dinner recently with a friend, and he said, “One day, they’ll know what causes cancer.” Guess what? They already know that processed meat causes cancer. Alcohol causes cancer. Smoking causes cancer. And all mammalian meat, whether organic or not, is associated with cancer.
The US Government Response to WHO
Every five years, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) publish what is called the US Dietary Guidelines.
The guidelines recommend a Standard American Diet for health and wellness. Within these guidelines, the US government generally reflects the World Health Organization’s recommendations. For example, the recommendation for sugar intake is that sugar should be limited to ten percent of daily calories. For a two-thousand calorie diet, this means we should consume no more than twelve teaspoons of sugar per day. This example reflects the WHO’s 2015 guideline on sugar intake. (For perspective, a twenty-ounce Coke contains fifteen teaspoons of sugar.)
The WHO provides recommendations for the world to follow. They are not swayed by our American lobbyists. The WHO committees are comprised of representatives from around the world. They make decisions and publish recommendations based on the world population and hundreds of global studies. When the United States does not align or follow WHO’s recommendations, it is indicative of the influences of lobbyists upon our government.
On January 7, 2016, the US Department of Health and Human Services released revised dietary guidelines that will guide our country’s health and well-being until 2020. On the website for the Dietary Guidelines, one of the first lines states, “The main purpose of the Dietary Guidelines is to inform the development of Federal food, nutrition, and health policies and programs. The primary audiences are policymakers, as well as nutrition and health professionals, not the general public (emphasis added). The Dietary Guidelines is a critical tool for professionals to help Americans make healthy choices in their daily lives to help prevent chronic disease and enjoy a healthy diet. Furthermore, its recommendations are ultimately intended to help individuals improve and maintain overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease—its focus is disease prevention. Thus, the Dietary Guidelines may be used or adapted by medical and nutrition professionals to encourage healthy eating patterns to patients.”
An external advisory committee creates the “Advisory Report” and submits it to the secretaries of HHS and USDA. The Dietary Guidelines are supposed to reflect the current science on diet and health as well as provide food-based guidance that meets nutrient needs. The Dietary Guidelines are then published, and each branch of government, as well as medical and nutrition professionals should interpret and implement them for their individual audiences.
For example, the USDA implements the Dietary Guidelines through MyPlate, which is a representation of food groups and the healthy choices associated with each food group that are being taught to our children. In the new Dietary Guidelines released on January 7, 2016 (after the WHO announced their guidelines for processed and red meat), the Key Recommendations did not include processed meat or red meat.
One would have assumed that the federal government would have reflected the World Health Organization’s recommendations regarding processed meat and red meat, but their Key Recommendations did not include either of these items. The US Dietary Guidelines did not reflect the current knowledge regarding the relationship between cancer and meat. The only reference is a note that
“Lower intakes of meats, including processed meats; processed poultry; sugar-sweetened foods, particularly beverages; and refined grains have often been identified as characteristics of healthy eating patterns.”
And furthermore, “For those who eat animal products, the recommendation for the protein foods subgroup of meats, poultry, and eggs can be met by consuming a variety of lean meats, lean poultry, and eggs. Choices within these eating patterns may include processed meats and processed poultry as long as the resulting eating pattern is within limits for sodium, calories from saturated fats and added sugars, and total calories.”
In other words, the US government chose not to address the potential health risks of eating processed meat and red meat. They are keeping the American public in the dark about the recommendations of the World Health Organization. I am sure there are lobbyists involved in this maneuver. In response to our government’s inability to act and update the key recommendations to include cautions about processed and red meat, the American Cancer Society published the following press release: