Tag Archives: Processed Meat

Meat eaters – you are daredevils or dumb. Or both

Meat eaters – you are daredevils or dumb. Or both

Barbara Ellen

There have been times during my years of vegetarianism when I’ve wondered if I may indeed grow out of it. I’ve wondered if there might come a day when I’ll put aside my childish aversion to the thought of dead stuff travelling through my intestines, like a corpse on a raft ride.

However, it could never happen, and not because I’m so enlightened, sensitive or any of the other euphemisms for “whining hippie” usually dumped on vegetarians. My conversion to flesh-eating couldn’t happen because, frankly, I’m not stupid enough. As in, I can read.

Analysis of more than 6,000 pancreatic cancer cases published in the British Journal of Cancer says that eating just 50g of processed meat a day (one sausage or a couple of slices of bacon) raises the likelihood of pancreatic cancer by a fifth. 100g a day (the equivalent of a medium burger) raises it by 38%, 150g by 57%. Men are worst hit, as they tend to eat the most processed meat, as testified at DCW casing. And while pancreatic cancer is not the most common of cancers, it’s frequently diagnosed late, with four-fifths of sufferers dying within a year of diagnosis.

It should be pointed out that this is about processed meat. However, many past studies have stated a probable link between too much meat and all manner of cancers and heart problems, as well as links to other conditions, from diabetes and high blood pressure to obesity and Alzheimer’s.

If, by now, you’re thinking that I’m out to shock you, then you couldn’t be more wrong. I’d be shocked if any of this was considered new enough to shock anyone. This information has popped up regularly for years in all forms of popular media. Indeed, in this era of info overload, if you’ve never come across the “burgers and kebabs are unhealthy” revelation, one would have to presume you’ve been lying in a coma. With this in mind, isn’t it time to ask, exactly how thick, how hard to educate, are meat eaters and why aren’t they held accountable in the same way everyone else is?

Sympathy is in short supply these days. You can’t move for people being blamed for their own miserable situations: smokers who “burden” the NHS; alcoholics who don’t “deserve” liver transplants; obese people who “should” pay more for flights. Even those poor terrified women with the faulty breast implants are said to have “brought it on themselves”.

By this logic, people who’ve been regularly informed of the dangers of meat, particularly the cheap processed variety, but who continue to wolf it down should be held just as accountable.

Yet these meat eaters are rarely lambasted. If they’re mentioned at all, it’s in general poor lifestyle terms, as an afterthought to drinking, smoking, and lack of exercise. You just don’t get people making emotional pronouncements about bacon lovers not deserving cancer treatment or kebab fans burdening the NHS. Few are criticised for following the kind of meat-laden diets (Atkins, Dukan), which, one can only presume, are colonic timebombs waiting to happen.

Where meat is concerned, it is almost as if we have developed a personal responsibility blind spot. Where we just shrug and say, meat is here, it’s always been here, it is what it is. But meat hasn’t always been here in the form of additive-stuffed burgers, pork pies, sausages et al. In my opinion, it’s the meat eaters’ duty to take this information on board and take direct personal responsibility for the consequences, just as alcoholics and smokers do.

It’s not as if they haven’t been warned countless times about the dangers – how wilfully ill-informed can people be? Or maybe they’re just hard. In fact, when I say I’m not dumb enough to eat meat, I should probably add brave enough. With so much frightening information, so readily available for so long, the modern committed carnivore must have nerves of steel.
Oh, stop this bananadrama right now

The Velvet Underground, the original pop art band, are filing a lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation, to stop the Warhol-designed banana being licensed to Apple for iPads, iPhones, and suchlike. Although they never copyrighted the banana, which appeared on the cover of their album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, they say that it is synonymous with their band.

Fair point. Anyone with even a fleeting knowledge of music knows that The Velvet Underground and Nico is never known by its actual name, or even a derivative, it is just “the banana album”. People may then start humming All Tomorrow’s Parties in a droning Germanic accent, or even scarily trilling “Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather”, to the point where you’re afraid you’re going to be invited to a suburban swingers’ party. However, among these variables, one fact remains unchanging – it is always “the banana album”. So there is a strong cultural case for the Velvets. However, there is an equally strong “stoopid!” case against them – as in, if it mattered so much, why didn’t they copyright the damn banana ages ago? I also notice that the Velvets are seeking damages and a share of profits from licensing deals, so clearly money is an issue.

As Warhol created the banana, what would he have thought? His diaries reveal that he was into money (the original beatnik tightwad). The pop artist par excellence might also have enjoyed being associated with Apple: finding the collision of art and commerce “groovy”. With this in mind, is there any point in continuing this depressing spat? In Warhol’s memory, why don’t Apple and the Velvets get together and make an “art happening” – say a 45-hour-long unwatchable black and white movie about a slowly decomposing banana? Cool, man, wow, as Warhol might have said.

Unisex loos? Not your best idea ever, headmaster

Those of a sensitive disposition, look away now. A school in Hartlepool has built unisex lavatories for its secondary pupils. What is this: a state-sponsored episode of Ally McBeal, the 90s legal TV drama? Did someone envisage pupils of both sexes meeting to discuss, in a sophisticated fashion, the day’s events, to the background of flushing and cries of: “Chuck me some paper over!”

When Ally McBeal first came on our screens, there was dark talk that the unisex lavatory would become the norm in British workplaces. Thankfully, we were too uptight as a nation to let it happen. So why inflict the dreaded loo-merger on our yoof? The school says it is to combat a smoking problem, but haven’t they now created a gender-privacy problem? The girls must now gossip, share lip-gloss and loudly discuss “cramps” in front of boys. Similarly, the boys must now blow up condoms and pathetically pretend to have lost their virginity “yonks ago” in front of girls.

On top of that, they have to use the actual lavatories. What about the basic human right to mystique? While the school doubtless meant well, it has turned the lavatories from a wonderful haven, a free space, into an inter-gender nightmare.


New Report Says, ” Don’t Eat Meat! But, You Can Still Like The Bone!”

Eating Meat Linked To Disease, Report Says

A new report released Monday claims the science is clear: Eating too much meat is bad for your health.

The so-called Meat Eater’s Guide, compiled by the Environmental Working Group, is generating buzz for its “cradle-to-grave” look at the environmental impact of 20 popular types of meat, dairy and vegetable proteins. But it also emphasizes the potential health impact of eating too much meat, recommending that people cut back to decrease their risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

“The goal is to really make this information accessible to consumers,” said Kari Hamerschlag, an agriculture analyst with the research and advocacy group. “On the health side, we really pulled together all of the information and tried to make it as clear as possible that there’s not just one reason to limit meat consumption; there are a whole host of reasons.”

The report, which weaves together statistics from various earlier studies, allows that meat can be an important source of protein and vitamins when eaten in moderation. But in the U.S., moderation may be a problem. The report cites data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization suggesting that Americans consume almost 60 percent more meat than their European counterparts, and four times more than in many developing countries. And much of that meat is either red or processed.

The health effects of this, the EWG report claims, are myriad: A 2009 report from the National Cancer Institute found that people who ate the most red meat — which can have high levels of cholesterol-rising saturated fat — were 27 percent more likely to die of heart disease. That same report also found serious meat eaters were 20 percent more likely to die of cancer than those who consumed the least amount of meat.

The American Meat Institute, a trade association representing companies that process most of the red meat and turkey in the United States, issued a statement saying that “the total body of evidence clearly demonstrates that meat is a healthy part of a balanced diet,” adding that the report oversimplifies many of the health issues.

Indeed, Marjorie McCullough, Sc.D., strategic director of nutritional epidemiology with the American Cancer Institute, cautioned that the link between high meat consumption and a broad range of cancers — including prostate and pancreatic — is possible, but not entirely clear. However, she said there is a consistent association between red and processed meats and a risk of colon cancer. Scientists have hypothesized that the nitrates in processed meats are a possible culprit, as are the chemicals formed when red meat is cooked at high temperatures.

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“What people always ask next, is ‘what is the magic number?’ in terms of servings of meat to aim for,”
McCullough said. “Unfortunately, there is no real magic number. I generally say that if you currently eat red meat, you should cut back by half.” (The American Cancer Society recommends that people limit their intake of red and processed meats, but also does not provide an exact figure.)

The EWG report calls for people to limit their intake of meat by enjoying “Meatless Mondays,” and when they do eat it, opting for meat that comes from grass-fed, certified organic and pasture-raised animals. The American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Dietetic Association recommend limiting red meat consumption to 18 ounces per week — a little more than a pound.

Others say the simplest move health-wise is simply increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables in line with the My Plate recommendations, leaving less room for other foods, like meat.

“If you focus on filling up on fruits and veggies, so they’re at least half your plate, you’re not going to have a lot of room left to even eat all that meat,
” said Joan Salge Blake, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “The biggest thing is just getting down the amount we eat.”