I’ve been hearing it all day. Almost every patient asked me the question: Is red meat really as bad as the World Health Organization is claiming? Multiple articles can be found today in the New York Times, and the Washington Post, and even in Money Magazine today. (Money Magazine . . . really?!)
The World Health Organization (WHO) is claiming that processed meats are cancer causing or carcinogenic on the same level as alcohol and asbestos. They also are claiming that red meat is “probably” carcinogenic. “Probably.” That’s a pretty big hedge for a claim of cancer after years of research was reviewed in meta-analysis. Probably is defined by Merriam-Webster to mean: “as far as one can tell.” Well, I can tell you, as far as I can tell, this is bad science being reported as fact to sway the lay mind in following an agenda.
The real story here is NOT that red meat is bad. The real story, that absolutely no one has mentioned, is the veiled agenda cloaked as blame placed on a source of food. This is the WHO’s first step in advancing the Global Warming Agenda.
“Oh, no, Dr. Nally. Here you go talking all that crazy conspiracy stuff!”
No, let me spell it out in the actual words of the World Health Organization.
First, the WHO Director General has published a Six Point Agenda, this year, specifically outlining her vision for high priority issues. The first point on this list of six is to “drive the global agenda . . . in the context of accelerating progress to the Millennium Development Goals.” (1) What in the world are Millennium Development Goals you may ask?
The Millennium Development Goals were first identified in 2000 at the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Conference and reconfirmed this year. These goals specifically outline a transformational vision of the world. The World Health Organization has taken these 16 goals as their “call to arms.” Goals #12 and #13 specifically discuss “ensuring sustainable food consumption patterns throughout the world” by “doubling agricultural growth” and restricting food production that worsens the “carbon footprint.” (2)
Over the last ten years, multiple progressive groups and sites have made the claim that the greatest threat to Climate Change is the cattle industry. They link cattle, livestock and our consumption of red meats to global warming and have been preaching the politics of nutrition. They claim that the only real way to stop climate change and global warming is to “eat less red meat and dairy products.” (3)
The claim is that if we each reduce the red meat in our diet, it will reduce the number of livestock around the world and decrease methane production . . . that causes global warming. I can personally attest to you, that if you eat a more vegetarian diet including cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant and legumes, you alone will increase the methane production in the atmosphere!
In fact, the Lancet, a well recognized medical journal, has published a series of articles yearly, starting in 2008, calling for the reduction in red meat, pork and livestock to control climate change. (Wait a minute? I thought the Lancet was a journal dedicated to diabetes?) All of their climate change/red meat research is based in meta-analysis consisting of “reported” meals by subjects from memory over a 5 year period. Who can remember what they ate last week? These authors then make claims of conjecture, stating that sources of meat “could be,” “may be,” or “probably are” harmful and “have the potential to” reduce climate change (4).
Second, links to cancer using processed meats are very, very small, . . . like a 0.04% chance of colon cancer if you eat processed meats. You have the same chance of getting hit by lightening in your lifetime – 0.04% chance (5). To liken this level of risk in the main stream media to that of smoking or asbestos exposure is immoral and unethical.
The concern for many regarding processed meats is the nitrate contents from nitrogen byproducts. About 5% of nitrates are converted into nitrites in the gut, and these can affect the oxidation within the colon an the blood stream. However, most of us handle these nitrites and nitrates through the urea cycle without any problem. Third, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, bok choy and carrots have two to five times higher nitrate concentrations than bacon and hot dogs (6). (Hmmm . . . wonder why the WHO didn’t classify spinach and lettuce as carcinogenic?) Fish produce nitrites in their waste and plants absorb the nitrites in the ponds and lakes and bodies of water they live in. (Look up aquaponics). Most of us have the ability to block the conversion and clear any nitrites out of our systems. The problem arises when we ingest foods that are high in nitrates in conjunction with high fructose corn syrup or “sugar,” to be simplistic. The hepatic (liver) metabolism of fructose in the presence of glucose (that’s what happens when we ingest sugar) inhibits endothelial nitric oxide synthase, increases insulin and suppresses the uric acid cycle allowing for build up of nitrites in the system. It’s the decreased nitric oxide and the high insulin response most of us get from eating the bread or juice with the bacon or the sausage that inhibits our ability to block the conversion leading to carcinogenic levels. (It ain’t the meat . . . its the sugar and the insuiln!!)
As for me, “pass the pastrami, I’m going to sit on the porch and watch a really amazing lightening storm.”
- WHO Director General Six Point Agenda, Publications. http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/6point_agenda_en.pdf, October 27, 2015.
- United Nations – Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld, October 27, 2015
- Time For Change. Are cows to blame for global warming? Are cattle the true cause for climate change? http://timeforchange.org/are-cows-cause-of-global-warming-meat-methane-CO2. October 27, 2015.
- Demaio, Alessandro R et al. The Lancet. Human and planetary health: towards a common language. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)61044-3/fulltext#back-bib10. October 27, 2015.
- National Geographic. Flash Facts about Lightening. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0623_040623_lightningfacts.html
- NG Hord et. al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. July 2009, Vol 90, 1-10. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/1/1.full#cited-by. October 27, 2015.