Sunday, November 25, 2007

Too Much Meat Equals Trouble

Too much of anything is not a good thing. If we all practiced a little moderation, we would be much healthier for it. But most of us have a tendency to overindulge in our favourite foods, in spite of knowing certain excesses can cause major problems in the future. In some cases, it's lack of knowledge, in others it's a deliberate choice. Either way, we should educate ourselves about what we ingest and how it can adversely affect our health. And then, at least, we have no-one to blame but ourselves when we do get sick.

For those of you who eat red meat, and lots of it, you should be aware that too much can cause a plethora of problems from heart disease to a higher risk of colorectal cancer, at which point, you have to decide whether it's worth the risk or not.

Heart Disease:

According to a Harvard Nurses' Study, women with Type 2 Diabetes who ingested too much Heme Iron from meat, increased their risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease over a 20 year period by a whopping 50%.


A group of 21 experts from around the world spent 5 years evaluating 7,000 cancer studies to determine what increases or decreases the risk of getting cancer. They concluded, among many other things, that eating too much meat can definitely increase that risk. Sir Michael Marmot, a Professor from University College London and chair of the panel of experts, claims there is a definite link between excess meat consumption and colorectal cancer, and halving the amount from the recommended 900 grams of red meat per week to 500 grams (equivalent to 2- 8 oz steaks) can substantially decrease that risk. He also recommends totally avoiding processed meats including smoked, salted or cured, like bacon, ham and salami. I would add hot dogs to the list.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

In a study by researchers at the University of Manchester, England participants who ate the most red meat doubled their risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis. Those who ate other meats in addition to red meat had the same risk factors. As someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I can guarantee you that juicy T-Bone is not worth the risk.

Bone Loss:

A study, at the University of California in San Francisco, of more than one thousand 65 to 80-year-old women found that after a period of 7 years those women who had the highest intake of protein from animal sources (like meat and cheese) had 3 times the amount of bone loss and 3.7 times the rate of hip fractures.

Then you have the extremely remote possibility of contracting Mad Cow Disease, but I won't get into that.

None of the studies are recommending people give up meat altogether (although I would suggest that) they are merely asking you to limit your intake. As the saying goes: "Everything in moderation." If you must eat 16 ounces of meat per week, try adding some fish to your diet and cooking up several veggie meals the rest of the week. Get a good vegetarian cookbook, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Pat Jenkins said...

i may have a problem with over indulgences. once i start eating peanuts i simply cannot put them down... that is my kryptonite... wow is me!!!

Frasypoo said...

Hi incog,
rice is my downfall !!!

Incognito said...

PJ: Your lucky you aren't allergic or you'd be in big trouble.

POO: Rice is pretty harmless, as long as it's not processed. So that's not so bad.