Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Red Pill Reality Dispelling Blue Pill Delusions: Red Meat

Another installment in a series: Red Pill Reality Dispelling Blue Pill Delusions

Everybody knows red meat is bad for you....right?!?!


Are you sure?

Doesn't everyone know that too much red meat in the Standard American Diet is the reason why Americans are at record levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer?


Do you feel guilty every time you take exceptional satisfaction in an artery clogging T-bone, or bite into a thick juicy burger or slurp up the fatty liquid from real-bone beef broth stew? Do you ever make concessions with yourself, in which you make a mental note to exercise a little harder later on to "make up" for your red meat indulgence?

Set your mind at ease...the idea that red meat is bad for you is nothing more than a big, fat lie.

Red meat is actually good for you.

Yes, not only is it not bad for you...it's downright good for you.

If that idea sounds crazy, you need to understand the source for this mistaken belief that red meat is the boogeyman causing so many health problems in the American diet....and. as I've pointed out before, the genesis of this mistaken belief starts with the favorite tool of diet propagandists: observational studies.

You know..the one where they hand out questionnaires to a bunch of senior citizens asking them what they ate in the last 12 months...and then they check back in 10 years and see which senior citizens kicked the bucket, and than blame their rate of red meat consumption as the cause of mortality.

Dr. Michael Eades, author of Protein Power, drives home the point that refutes all of the media reports about the health hazards of red meat:  

Correlation does not equal causation!

The news is abuzz with reports of the latest study to come out showing that eating meat, especially red meat, kills us off before our time.  (You can read some of the reporting here, here, here and here.)  Google shows 547 new articles about this study.

Although this study is totally worthless from a causality perspective because it is an observational study, it does serve to confirm the biases of those non-critical thinkers who have already bought into the idea that meat is bad. 
And the majority of the journalists, editors and publishers of today's corporate mass media, most certainly buy into this notion that meat is bad. And the entire media is saturated with articles with such catchword phrases like "the latest studies reveal: red meat shortens your life span!"

But if you look at the actual science on the topic, the evidence paints quite a different picture. Read Dr. Eades entire post on how the studies being touted by the media don't actually indicate what the media says it does.

The point of this post is that you shouldn’t get wound up about a study that gets reported throughout the media because there are more than likely other studies that are just as well done and just as important showing exactly the opposite findings that the press chooses to ignore.  You’re not seeing the science as it is, you’re seeing the science as the press wants you to see it, which, typically, is the way that confirms the bias of members of the press.
So this demonstrates how red meat has been unfairly demonized....but where does this idea that red meat is actually GOOD for you, come from? Here's one good source:

It's the Beef!

What a shame we have demonized red meat because this is one modern food, enjoyed by almost everybody, that is rich in nutrients. Red meat provides complete protein, including sulphur-containing proteins like cysteine. Beef is a wonderful source of taurine and carnitine, needed for healthy eyes and a healthy heart. Beef also provides another key nutrient for the cardiovascular system—coenzyme Q10.
Beef is an excellent source of minerals like magnesium and zinc—you need zinc for clear thinking and a healthy sex life. The fuzzy-headedness that vegetarians mistake for heightened consciousness is really the fog of zinc deficiency. Vitamin B6 is abundant in meat, especially rare meat. Red meat is one of the best sources of vitamin B12, which is vital to a healthy nervous system and healthy blood. Vegetarians are especially prone to vitamin B12 deficiency. One of the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is a tendency to irrational anger-—so much for vegetarian claims that we will have a more peaceful, harmonious world if we all just stop eating meat.

Despite all those nutrients...what about the fat?

Beef producers need to recognize that the fat is the most important part of the beef, rich in components that promote good health and that help you utilize the nutrients in all the other parts of the beef. In addition to vitamins A and D, fat contributes many important fatty acids, including palmitoleic acid, an antimicrobial fat that protects us against pathogens in the gut. If you want to be sure that you don't get foodborne illness from your hamburger, use full fat ground beef.

Fat also provides a substance called conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, at least it does if the animals have been on green grass.31 CLA is a substance that protects us against cancer and that promotes weight loss—that's right, fat can make you thin, if it's the right kind of fat.

And the right kind of fat is also saturated fat which, in spite of what we've been told, plays many important roles in the body chemistry. The scientific literature delineates a number of vital roles for dietary saturated fats—they enhance the immune system,32 are necessary for healthy bones,33 provide energy and structural integrity to the cells,34 protect the liver35 and enhance the body's use of essential fatty acids.36 Stearic acid and palmitic acid, found in beef tallow and butter, are the preferred foods for the heart.37 As saturated fats are stable, they do not become rancid easily, do not call upon the body's reserves of antioxidants, do not initiate cancer, do not irritate the artery walls.

In fact saturated beef fat is one of the most useful fats in the culinary repertoire. As it is very stable and doesn't go rancid when heated to high temperatures, it's perfect for frying. While we don't recommend a lot of fried foods, we know that our children and grandchildren are going to eat them. Fast food outlets used to fry their potatoes in healthy stable beef tallow. They were crisp, tasted delicious and provided many important nutrients. But the phony cholesterol issue has forced these outlets to switch to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is known to cause a host of chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, bone problems, infertility and autoimmune disease.38
So...if you can find yourself a good source of grass-fed beef...or buffalo, or kangaroo...or any other ruminant animal eating it's natural diet of grass...eat up to your hearts content. Literally.

And even if grass fed meat is too expensive or too hard to find in your area...even grain fed beef is nowhere near as bad for your health as the corporate-owned, mainstream media would have you think.

I personally think the demonization of red meat is a diversionary tactic promoted by BIG AGRICULTURE.

By getting people to focus on the red meat, they will ignore all of the products of Big Ag that are actual health detriments.

It's not the red meat that's making you sick...it's all of the Big Ag byproducts that are mass produced and sold at a high profit margin because of it's extensive shelf life that is included with your serving of red meat that's ruining your health! Things like the white flour with high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil to bake the bun, the MSG additives, the High Fructose Corn Syrup soda and the potatoes fried in rancid, hydrogenated vegetable oil that's making you fat and your arteries clogged.


Ulysses said...

Here's an anecdote: Recently I cooked grass-fed ribeyes, spinach, and sauteed onions (in real butter) for dinner. Ate a huge meal. Ate the fat off the ribeyes as they were exceptionally good ribeyes and the fat melted in my mouth. Finished this huge meal and didn't feel sluggish, stuffed, or any of the other adjectives one ascribes to the feeling one gets after a huge carb heavy meal.

Keoni Galt said...

Hah! I just had a grass fed T-Bone steak sauteed in butter, with onions and mushrooms, as well as a strip of bacon and some scrambled eggs for breakfast.

No sluggish, stuffed, bloated feeling either. In fact, I feel positively enervated today.

I wish I could afford to eat those kind of breakfasts more often.

SilkSting said...

I eat mostly cream, butter, eggs, beef, and a small amounts of veggies for flavor. 0 sugar, 0 starch, 0 wheat. I feel great all day.

Seeing the ridiculous advice the USDA, AHA, ADA, etc, give with regards to diet ought to be enough to convince anyone to start looking for red pills everywhere.

Dennis said...

I love red meat! Grass fed ground beef is usually cheaper per pound than grain-fed steak, I usually eat at least a pound a day.

This last weekend I rendered beef fat for the first time. I didn't spring for the grass-fed this time because I was mostly just trying out a small batch, but it turned out great. I cooked up a batch of freedom fries with it, then covered it in sea salt. My kids ate so many I had to cook up a whole new pan, on top of them eating their full meal already!

gallier2 said...

We should not forget who peddles the food pyramid which is binding for all federal institution and a real reason why the US (and the rest of the world) is fattening.


As you can see on that website, it's not the AHA which would be theorically the right institution but the USDA. No wonder then that the pyramid is optimized to advance Big Agro and not public health.
This said, even if AHA was making that pyramid, it would not be that different, because then it would be designed to push Big Pharma not public health either. The same corporations are big agri and big pharma anyway (Monsanto).

Evan said...

If one were to eat 100% "whole" foods then it should be near impossible to maintain a bodyfat over 12-15% (for guys).

I still occasionally eat bagels/bread, cereal, and white rice (typically only after workouts), but have maintained, effortlessly, the ~50 lb weight loss I achieved since eating primarily whole unprocessed foods.

Default User said...

Good Calories, Bad Calories reports some of the arguments and statements made regarding meat and saturated fat.

What struck me was that even back then (Ancel Keys' time – 1950s) the arguments focused on what we might call morality. Even then criticism of meat and saturated fats was part of a criticism of the "American way of life" and capitalism, etc.

Just like the environmentalism, the anti fat campaign is a semi-religious attack on capitalism.
[I understand that many rent seeking "capitalists" have a hand in it too.]

I think it was Good Calories, Bad Calories. I have read a few such books recently.

Anonymous said...


I'd love it if you could do a nutritional post that specifically addresses how a man can raise his testosterone levels. Before and during puberty I went through my left wing, hippy progressive stage and became a vegan. Not only did I not partake in red meat, but I consumed a huge amount of soy on a daily basis. I reject this stupid mistake.

Either that diet has severely damaged my general level of virility or I am genetically weak and effeminate. I don’t know what my testosterone levels are but I suspect their rather low. Either way I wish to do everything I can to become physically more masculine and potent.

Default User said...


Don't hang everything on your T-level. You may have low T, and low T may be the cause of your ill feeling but there could be any number of causes.

You can order lab tests without a prescription from many places. I have used http://www.directlabs.com and found their service to be good.

There are many things that could cause a loss of mojo e.g., thyroid problems, adrenal (cortisol et al) problems. I am not sure that testosterone is a magic cure all. Indeed I suspect its benefits are more anabolic (muscle and bone building) than mental (aggression and confidence).

Other things:
Vitamin D: Allow yourself time in the sun without sun cream.
You can check the length of time needed in the sun for your location at: http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD-ez_quartMED.html

Anonymous said...

Just another little anecdote:

I eat a pretty high fat diet, and have done so for many, many years. I usually eat about 100g of fat a day as a minimum, usually it's higher (yes, I track calories and macros). I've also eaten at least 4 whole large eggs everyday for many, many years (sometimes I'll eat 8 a day). Going by convention my arteries should be clogged and I should be ready for a heart attack. I got a blood test done earlier this year. My results were absolutely outstanding.

Mind you I don't eat like this and sit on my ass all day. My diet coupled with a non retarded training regimen will make you man.

plowboy said...

Great points here until going off the tracks with the HFCS comments. HFCS and sugar are essentially identical. If HFCS was banned tomorrow and dietary habits stayed the same with sugar in its place, absolutely nothing would change in regards to human health. There may be some differences in flavor, but chemically and metabolically sugar is sugar is sugar, regardless of the plant it's refined from. It's a shame to eviscerate the scare tactics against one agricultural product while buying into another.

gallier2 said...

@plowboy not exactly true. HFCS and sugar are different in that sucrose is a disaccharide that needs the enzyme sucrase to get cleaved and absorbed in the gut. HFCS instead comes mainly as a mix of monosaccharides that are taken up faster, changing the impact. There's also another point of difference but I haven't read much about it yet. The fructose in HFCS is produced by a catalitic reaction from the glucose in the corn-starch giving a racemic mix (meaning a mix of left and right turning molecules), fructose synthetised from a biological process are all of the same kind. There is some discussion that the wrong turned fructose is much more toxic than the other one. This said I agree that the changing HFCS with sugar would not make that big a difference as there are certainly other dietary (seed oils, trans-fats, wheat) and life style (stress, no cooking, TV) patterns that contribute to the obesity/illness epidemic in the western world.

Amateur Strategist said...

Mmm, so far so good. I've already lost 10 lbs and that was mostly just avoiding carbs. Good call on teh Sea Salt, my brother apparently has high blood pressure, so I took the liberty of changing all my family's NaCl to Sea Salt (Morton's brand, apparently from Spain). I just want to know, though, I live in a non-coastal state so seafood is consumed rarely. Do I still need to keep some of the old iodized salt to avoid thyroid problems, you think?

Also, when my father makes chicken soup (with noodles), should I just pick out the noodles and be good to go, or avoid (eat far less of) it all together?


Anonymous said...

So, why not mix the iodized salt with the sea salt in a big bowl, and get the iodine and the minerals all at once? Just asking.

Or, buy iodine disinfecting pills and mix it with sea salt?

I tell my friends and neighbors here in rural Mexico if they want to be healthy, talk to the doctors; ask lots of questions; understand and memorize everything they say, then do the exact opposite! And, I am not joking, which is really funny when you learn my best friend here is a doctor.

When I started the Atkins Diet, he told me, "Not possible. Can't work! Eating fat makes you fat!"

I told him, "Atkins had 60,000 patients, and 95% of them had dramatically improved health all the way around."

He insisted it couldn't work. He dug out his old med school nutrition book. Every day, the marker would move a bit. When he finished, he didn't say one word, not one.

A month or so ago, I was there when a 58 year old cousin who was sitting at the kitchen table had a chest pain. I learned he not only had a chest pain, but also on both sides of his neck and both arms.

He first claimed to have it only once a week or so, but later when his wife wasn't there he admitted he had it 3 or 4 times a day. Three or four unstable angina attacks a day? He is alive only because God wants to torture him some more.

I said, "Hey, man, you need to get on my diet!" He agreed. He had his last angina attack three days later. He, like me, is a slow loser, but in that month or so he is down 4.4 pounds, and it is obvious his veins and arteries are cleaning out.

Not only was he scared, but so was his wife. She isn't in that bad of shape, but she asked him to get her calcium pills so she can cut back on tortillas. She also works hard to give him low carb foods. He does take 2 tortillas a day, and 1/4 cup of frijoles.

By the way, if you take 2400 mg of calcium a day, you probably won't have osteoporosis. The Mexican women here, who get that amount from tortillas, DO NOT GET OSTEOPOROSIS.

With the recommended daily requirement of 1000 mg a day, you do not get enough. I gotta' ask, do the makers of horribly expensive Fosamax know that? Um, yeah, a stupid question, right?

Anonymous age 68

Xamuel said...

I don't feel guilty about anything I eat nowadays, since I've taken up a regular swimming workout. Call it the Michael Phelps diet ;)

I wonder just how much of the pains which are supposed to come with eating heavy food are really psychosomatic.

Anonymous said...

I usually agree with you H.L. , but in this case I think you've made an attribution error.

It's not so much what's in the meat ( excepting hormones and anti-biotics ) , it's the way it's cooked. Heavy free radical damage agents and carcinogenic compounds can be found it meat incorrectly prepared.