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The rate of instances of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, autism, and many more continues to increase at an alarming rate. Since we first began recording statistics on disease we have seen a skyrocketing upward trend which has many scientists and researchers looking for answers, most notably towards our environment. We are surrounded by toxins on a daily basis, and we are also ingesting them constantly. Scientists have been examining the many common habits of modern humans, and one of those habits clearly includes eating a tremendous amount of meat.

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How Meat Fuels Tumor Growth

The association between meat consumption and diseases like cancer is no secret. Ever since researchers started studying the links between diet and cancer, one thing has stood out above the rest: people who avoided eating meat were much less likely to develop cancer.(1)(2) Many studies have shown that there is a significantly decreased risk of cancer associated with veganism.(3)

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) published their second review of the major studies that have taken place with regards to diet and cancer prevention. They determined that, for multiple cancers, red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) as well as processed meat consumption increases cancer risk. (4)

Studies have also shown that specific chemicals formed when meat is cooked (specifically HCAs and PAHs) can also be linked to cancer, and when I say “linked,” I mean there is a serious cause for concern. There is a great deal of evidence to support the claim that high meat consumption leads to cancer. One such example involves a recent case-control study conducted at the University of Utah. The study included 952 subjects with rectal cancer and 1205 controls, and found that men and women with the highest consumption of processed or well-cooked meat showed an increased risk for developing rectal cancer. (5)

Cooking meat produces (as mentioned above) what are called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. These are widely believed to play a significant role in human cancers. (6) I find this to be one (out of many) remarkable examples of how there is plenty of strong evidence, yet mainstream medical literature considers the link between meat consumption and cancer inconclusive.

Keep in mind, when looking at this type of science it’s important to use the Bradford Hill Criteria when doing your research.

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In another study, researchers followed and analyzed the diets of more than 525,000 participants to determine whether there might be a link between the consumption of fats from red meat and dairy, and pancreatic cancer. They found that the more people ate these particular fats, the higher the risk of pancreatic cancer. Interestingly, this same study found no association between plant-food fat and pancreatic cancer. (7)

The list goes on and on. Another recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer found that vegetarians are 12 percent less likely to develop cancer than meat-eaters overall. They followed 61,000 meat-eaters and vegetarians for over 12 years, and also discovered that cancers of the blood, such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, were significantly (“drastically” as they say in the study) reduced by as much as 45 percent for those following a vegetarian diet.  Although this study points to an overall reduced risk, this may well be an underestimate of the benefits of vegetarianism. Previous studies have shown as much as a 40 percent reduced risk for all cancers. (8)

On the flip side, one could certainly point out the fact that many people go their whole lives eating cooked meat and live long healthy lives. That might hold true for some, but definitely not all. No one can deny that cancer rates are pretty ridiculous today, and it would be wise to start to take a closer look at our human experience. All of us need to help turn things around, and this is one area of our lives that we can easily control.

It’s also noteworthy to  mention the fact that the meat available to us today is laden with drugs and other contaminants, and that GMO feed is causing a great deal of damage to the animals consuming it, and us in turn.

There are plenty of studies to choose from, though I am aware that studies do have their limitations. At the same time, think of the Bradford Hill criteria – when you have so much consistency and so many links, it is highly logical to make certain conclusions.

Whenever you have some time to think, whenever you pause for a moment during your day, consider taking a step back and really observing what we are doing to our planet and how we rationalize it. There is much to see, including, of course, the fact that an enormous amount of people consume meat on a daily basis. I don’t mean to say that this is inherently wrong, or to lay judgement down, but merely to question why we do this knowing it’s detrimental to our health and to the environment.

Sometimes bringing up topics like this can rub people the wrong way, but facts are facts; we currently live in a society where so many people have closed their minds to new possibilities, new explanations, and in many cases, new evidence. For example, many people still believe that consuming meat on a daily basis is a completely natural, and that throughout different stages in our evolution we have always eaten meat. This simply isn’t true. In fact, most of our ancestors were completely vegetarian, and the ones that ate meat appear to have had a much higher percentage of plant food than meat in their diet. Pointing to the “cave man diet” (a completely false idea) is not really a valid justification for eating meat, and it doesn’t mean that we are “designed” to eat meat at all. You can read more about that, and access specific studies about the the “cave man diet” myth HERE.

If you are truly curious about meat and its association with human disease, hopefully this article is a good kick start for you to start doing some research about it.

 

Sources:

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8610089

(2) http://www.birdflubook.org/resources/Barnard_1995_PM_24_646.pdf 

(3)http://www.pnas.org/content/105/48/18936.full.pdf+html

(4)http://www.dietandcancerreport.org/cancer_resource_center/downloads/summary/english.pdf

(5) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb06974.x/pdf

(6)  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb06974.x/pdf

(7) http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2009/06/26/jnci.djp168.short

(8) http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v101/n1/full/6605098a.html


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