Red meat. The real killer?

The Times (UK) Magazine, 28 September 2013:

Should red meat carry a health warning?

ImageAlex Renton investigates the link between what we eat and the increased risk of diet-related cancers

We’re hard-wired to eat meat: all we can get of it. Research shows that if you give a diet of unlimited meat to omnivorous animals, whether a fly, a mouse or a chimpanzee, they will go on gorging until they are fat and ill. And that is precisely what has happened to humans.

For most Britons meat is cheaper than at any time in history, and we have tucked in. Annually, we consume more than our own body weight in animal flesh: nearly twice as much as health guidelines say we should. But that’s still puny compared with the meat feast going on in Australia and in the US. There, each person eats 120kg or more a year. It is not doing any of us any good.

In fact, long-term studies of hundreds of thousands of people in rich countries now show that the more meat, especially red and processed meat, you eat, the shorter your life will be. One of the key diseases associated with meat eating – bowel cancer – has risen swiftly to be the second or third biggest killer in most developed countries. Even the most conscientious carnivores can’t dodge the statistics: the new dietary killers don’t give any credit for shopping organic. The chemicals in bacon will get you even if the pig was bred by the Prince of Wales himself. And the dangerous proteins in economy beefburgers are just as present in the most expensive grass-fed, rare-breed beef steak.

Read the rest of this article – including the sceptical bit! – on The Times website (£)

Eat My Words: Bring home the bacon

Bring home the best bacon

Thomas Firak Photography/Getty Images

3rd February, 2011

Two bacon rashers are in the frying pan — one sizzling excitedly in its own fat, the other heaving a little as it bleeds odd white clots. A couple of minutes later the first is nicely browning, ready to take centre stage beside the scrambled eggs and fried tomatoes. The second has shrunk to about half its original size and curled up. It goes in the dog’s bowl. The dog sniffs before she eventually chews it.

It’s a paradox: the great love the British have for bacon, set against how little we care about how it’s made. It is the most popular form of the most popular meat, pork, that we eat and yet we insist on paying virtually nothing for it: £4.30 a kilo, this week, for the basic stuff in Tesco and Asda. There are more expensive dog foods.

Read on here at Times Online