It's that time again....
...time for another round of terrorizing we the sheeple via mass media propaganda about a common food item most of us consume.
Yes, it's time for another round of mass media "RED MEAT CANCER SCARE!"
In my last post, commenter Dan Dascalescu left the following:
You do realize that you are pitting one particular case against mountains of large-scale clinical trials (for instance this study on daily red meat consumption which shows that cancer mortality in men in the highest quintile of consumption is increased 22%, and the cardiovascular disease mortality in women consuming the highest quintile of processed meat is increased 38%.)
You have quite a burden of proof upon your shoulders.
Not quite, Dan. Funny that I had this post on the back burner for a couple of days...but your comment got me inspired to finish it up.
Before I even clicked on your link, I already knew where this was going...but I clicked anyways.
The study conclusion reads "Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality", but please see the "Adjusted model" results in the results tables of the study. For example, cancer mortality in men in the highest quintile of consumption is increased 22%, and the cardiovascular disease mortality in women consuming the highest quintile of processed meat is increased 38%.
Were have we seen this kind of thing before?
So, knowing what to expect, I click on Dan's link to the PubMed Abstract:
High intakes of red or processed meat may increase the risk of mortality. Our objective was to determine the relations of red, white, and processed meat intakes to risk for total and cause-specific mortality.
The study population included the National Institutes of Health-AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) Diet and Health Study cohort of half a million people aged 50 to 71 years at baseline. Meat intake was estimated from a food frequency questionnaire administered at baseline.
Same story, different channel.
Dan, if you're reading this, understand that correlation does not equal causation. But the journalists who right these "scare" stories can't seem to grasp this. They just read the PubMed abstract, write their story for corporate mass media dissemination about the dangers of red meat consumption, and BOOM! Once again, "everyone knows red meat is bad for you!"
Now, as I indicated earlier, I began writing this post several days ago...because I also saw a similar article in the same vein: Cut red meat intake and don't eat ham, say cancer researchers: World Cancer Research Fund advises people to limit consumption of beef, pork and lamb and avoid processed meat
I didn't even bother trying to find the source article. I already know it's going to lead to the exact same thing - an epidemiological study based on food questionnaire results. It always does whenever you look into these "RED MEAT" mass media terrorism campaigns.
This time, I tried a different tact. I wanted to see just who was funding this organization to produce these kinds of studies to scare us all into forgoing meat in our diets. A cursory Google search of "WCRF Corporate Sponsors" didn't reveal any WCRF lists of sponsors, but it did reveal the American affiliate of the WCRF, the AICR or American Institute of Cancer Research. There list was rather illuminating.
The Dole Nutrition Institute "Delivering Nutrition Naturally! Dole just made it easier to learn how to eat the right foods and live a better, healthy life!"
Eat Right! Fruits! Vegetables! Salads! Juice!
Nah, there's no motive to promote less red meat consumption and more fruits and vegetable consumption from a fruit and vegetable corporation like Dole...right?
Take a look at another corporate sponsors page, Giant Food LLC, and their healthy ideas page. The graphic displaying processed food products under their "healthy ideas" logo are the typical fare of so-called 'healthy' mass produced food, like whole grain pasta, orange juice and egg beaters "low cholesterol" egg substitute.
Nah, this corporation wouldn't have anything to gain by people making their grocery shopping decisions with the fear of red meat in their minds...
Another sponsor is Standard Process Whole Foods Supplements. From their "importance of whole foods supplements" page, we get the following:
Given proper nutrition, the human body has an amazing ability to heal itself. If properly fed and given the right nutrients, the human body is designed to repair itself. To do so, we need to eat a healthier diet, exercise, and take high-quality supplements made from whole foods. Whole food supplements supply our bodies with nutrients we are not getting from our diet, all the vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients that foods possess in a way that nature intended, in a whole food form.
Think they wouldn't sponsor red meat demonization studies so people buy their supplements rather then eat the meat that contains many of the vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and nutrients?
Some other sponsors include The California Walnut Commission (eat nuts for protein instead of red meat!), The National Onion Association (eat more vegetables instead of red meat!), The National Fisheries Institute (eat white meat instead, like FISH!), and of course, without any surprises, we have the United Soybean Board.
You think the number one Big Agriculture crop used in making "Vegetable Oil" and "Vegetable Protein" wouldn't have an axe to grind against red meat? Nah.
I'm convinced that the entire demonization of red meat by the corporate mass media is a deliberately disseminated misinformation campaign to get consumers to buy the processed food products of Big Agriculture instead of fresh meat.