Naturally reared meat versus ‘junk meat’
With my deep interest in nutrition and good health, I have obviously read many books about food and whether or not we should eat meat, versus a vegetarian diet. There are many books, The China Study (largely the text behind the movie “Forks over Knives”) being one of the most prominent examples, which show the virtues of avoiding meat, and these books promote a vegetarian diet.
Obviously, I am a meat eater, and I do enjoy meat, I like the taste and I have found myself left wanting when I have lived on a vegetarian diet in the past. But I don’t eat meat JUST because I like the taste, and if I saw evidence that I genuinely believed, proving that meat was bad for me, compelling me to reduce my intake of animal products, then I would consider cutting right back on my meat consumption or even giving it up altogether.
Show me the evidence
BUT, the issue I have with all these studies (all the research which is quoted in books such as The China Study and many others) is that they seem to do all their research comparisons based on vegetarians versus meat eaters consuming the “typical Western diet”. They quote research showing incidents of heart disease, diabetes or cancer among segments of the population who eat “a typical Western diet” which more often than not in the case of these studies, means Americans eating McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC.
The trouble is, I find there is a lot missing from this overall picture, and many assumptions are being made.
For example, a McDonalds Big Mac Meal contains 1350 calories, 56% of which are carbohydrates (the chips, the burger bun, the ‘salad garnish’ and the sugars in the relishes, and the massive amount of sugar in the drink), then 35.1% of the calories are fat and 8.9% are protein. Most of the protein calories will come from the meat, and the fat will come from the chips and the burger. So as you can see from the fact that protein makes up less than 9% of this whole ‘meal’ (I hate to even consider McDonalds as ‘food’ to be honest), the meat is actually only a small part of the whole meal…yet these studies tell us that the “typical Western diet” is giving people heart disease, and they always say that MEAT is the product to blame!
I don’t understand how these researchers can ignore all the sugar in the drink and the processed carbs in the so-called bread bun (which our body sees as sugar), and the fatty greasy chips…and point the finger at the meat! And lest we forget, that burger is not what I would call real meat at all! The cows are fed grains and antibiotics, and fattened up on hormones and the end product is far removed from the natural, grass-fed, outdoor-reared, organic healthy kind of meat that I like to eat. Those poor, mistreated cows, are fatty, diseased, mentally mistreated, unhappy, unhealthy, and get little exercise.
If I had the funds, I would do the research myself
The research I want to see is a study which compares the health of groups who eat the “typical Western diet” compared to groups who eat much lower-fat, naturally reared, grass-fed, free-range, organic, humanely-reared meat (or wild caught game meat), and avoid all the sugar and chemical additives that typically accompany the trash diet. Until I see more thoroughly researched evidence, I am not convinced that the meat (constituting just a little over 10% of a McDonalds Big Mac meal) is the sole villain in the Western diet.
It seems to be that the kind of people who eat at McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut, are the kind of people who consume not just cheap, poorly raised meat, but also masses of sugar, additives, chemicals and cheap, fatty, sugary processed foods. Without being judgemental, I would suspect that the people who eat that kind of food, probably also fall foul of other poor health habits, such as not exercising regularly, watching too much TV, siting down too much and so on. I am just one man on my own right now, and I do not have the funds to complete this research myself, but if someone would like to send £100 grand my way I would be happy to complete this research.
I think that if research compared the THREE groups - vegetarians, versus those on “the typical Western diet” versus folks eating a low-sugar, paleo-style, organic-only meat diet - then I think we would see VERY different results, showing that sugar, chemicals, additives and processed foods are the major causes of poor health and obesity, not ‘meat’ per se.
Before we conclusively make animal products into public enemy #1, I’d like to see well documented research comparing ‘good meat eaters’ versus ‘junk meat eaters’ and then I’ll decide. If any random multi-millionaires are reading this, and you care about health issues, please feel free to contact me and we’ll make this happen!!