Recently, a friend posted something online about the grossness of processed meat and how it made her “want to go vegetarian.”
It got me thinking about how many of us think that there are only two options:
Eat meat and support horrible, unethical factory-farming processes and grain-feeding (not the animal’s natural diet), OR
Abstain from meat altogether and be vegetarian.
What makes this more of a compelling argument is the common misconceptions that fat is bad for us, that cholesterol is bad for us, and red meat is bad for us. Doesn’t it seem like going vegetarian is a better answer?
For nearly two decades, we’ve been bombarded with sensationalist headlines claiming that “red meat causes cancer.” Terrified by the news, many people have significantly limited or completely given up their consumption of beef and other red meats, opting instead for chicken or fish. Some have decided to give up meat altogether, adopting vegetarian or vegan lifestyles they believe are better for their bodies and the planet. As you will see below, however, not only does red meat not cause cancer, it is in fact an extremely healthful, nutrient dense food that can help you avoid the very degenerative diseases it’s been claimed to cause.
Perhaps the biggest, most devastating myth to human health is the faulty notion that cholesterol causes heart disease. We have been told for decades there is incontrovertible proof that eating saturated fat and cholesterol raises cholesterol in the blood, and that in turn, excess serum cholesterol causes heart disease. You may be surprised to learn that this theory, known as the “Diet-Heart Hypothesis”, has never actually been proven despite numerous studies. But fueled by bias, vested interests, and institutional momentum, the complete lack of evidence has not stopped the media, health organizations, or pharmaceutical companies from continuing to tout their favored—albeit faulty—hypothesis as fact.
We have been told that saturated fat is unhealthy for so long by so many that most of us now just consider it common sense and would never think to question it. The presumption that dietary saturated fat causes heart disease (known as the “Diet-Heart Hypothesis”) is one of the fundamental tenements of major institutions like the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and The United States Department of Agriculture, so most would assume that their guidelines are based on sound scientific fact. But those who take the time to honestly evaluate the evidence will quickly see that no study has yet to show a solid causal link between consumption of saturated fat and the development of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.
We’ve all heard the staggering statistics: more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight, with more than one-third considered to be clinically obese. But how did we get here? Ironically, the sharp increase in obesity rates can be tied to efforts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ostensibly make Americans healthier. Their 1980 report Dietary Guidelines for Americans urged Americans to: Eat less fat. Eat more grains. And this is precisely what most Americans have done over the past 35 years, helped by food companies offering a slew of new low-fat and fat-free products. But since food tastes terrible without fat, they had to replace it with something palatable. The answer? Sugar.