Recently, some so-called “expert” tried to blame the new coronavirus outbreak on raising cattle for beef. (Well, they tried blaming meat for everything else already, so why not put more myths out there?!)
And sadly, as I’ve learned over my 40-year career, many Americans just don’t know the truth about many different health issues. So, many of them still worried about eating meat—even before this new coronavirus myth got started.
But one thing here is starting to become clear: The novel coronavirus probably did not come from cattle, bats, or even a top-secret lab in Communist China. Instead, it emerged and arose among humans living in extremely dense, urban settings.
So, why the confusion? And furthermore—why does beef continue to get blamed for every health problem under the sun?
Well, today, let’s set the record straight about five ridiculous claims about eating meat…
Five lingering myths about meat
1.) Meat “rots” in your colon. Some natural know-it-alls and promoters of vegan lifestyles try to claim that meat decomposes—or rots—in your large intestine (also known as your colon), causing all kinds of imaginary ills.
But that’s complete and utter nonsense.
Digestive enzymes in your saliva go right to work breaking down the meat as you begin to chew, just as it does with any other food you ingest. Then, it passes into your stomach—where strong acids break it down further into proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Then, your small intestines start to absorb the nutrients, sending them into the bloodstream and to the liver to be metabolized.
All of this work happens long before the meat ever reaches your colon. So, there’s really nothing left to “rot” there.
On the other hand, indigestible cellulose and plant matter, like the processed plant matter they put into fake meats, can rot in your colon! That’s because the human gastrointestinal (GI) system simply cannot break down indigestible plant fibers. So, unlike meat, they can actually get stuck in your colon.
At that point, the body relies on bacteria to ferment and decompose these ingestible fibers…again, from plant matter—not meat. (You can learn more about the hidden dangers of too much plant fiber in the very first issue of my Insiders’ Cures monthly newsletter [“Dietary fiber: Cancer cure—or cause?”].)
2.) The cholesterol and fat in meat raises your heart disease risk. As I often report, the mainstream likes to blame heart disease on high cholesterol and saturated fat. So, let’s address the cholesterol claim first…
There’s never been any evidence to suggest that cholesterol in foods such as red meat raises blood cholesterol. And there’s no evidence to suggest that lowering blood cholesterol lowers heart disease risk. In fact, on the contrary, some studies suggest a link between low blood cholesterol and higher disease risks!
Likewise, experiments show that when you force people to cut out saturated fats (such as those found in red meat) and replace them with so-called “heart healthy” processed plant oils (which may reduce cholesterol), their risk of death actually increases.
Furthermore, some folks also think it’s healthier to eat so-called “white” meat (like poultry) instead of red meat. But that’s a myth, too. In fact, as I exposed last year, lamb and other red meats contain many more healthy, essential fatty acids than do turkey and chicken. So you can put away all those bland “turkey burgers” and “chicken sausages” and opt for the real thing after all!
3.) Meat raises Type II diabetes risk. In a huge meta-analysis that included data from 20 previously published studies involving more than 1 million men and women, researchers found no link between red meat and Type II diabetes (or heart disease).
As I’ve always reported, meat isn’t the problem with Type II diabetes. Instead, the real culprits are refined carbs, sugars, and highly processed, “hyperpalatable” foods. (I’ll tell you more about the dangers of “hyperpalatable” foods in tomorrow’s Daily Dispatch. Stay tuned!)
4.) Meat causes cancer. In recent years, I’ve seen quite a few articles in the mainstream press touting some poorly designed studies that had found eating red meat may slightly, marginally raise the risk of some cancers.
But researchers recently wrapped up a massive meta-analysis of 61 previously published studies involving 4 million participants from 55 different populations. And they concluded that concerns about meat causing cancer (or heart disease) were overblown…and, ultimately, based on poor science. Furthermore, they concluded that cutting back on meat consumption does very little to diminish cancer risk.
5.) Meat is bad for bones. Some natural-know-it-alls cling to this myth, citing some unfounded, acid-alkaline theory that doesn’t hold water. Granted, some short-term experiments show that increasing protein intake may lead to some calcium loss from the body. But this short-term effect does not last. In fact, longer studies show protein has a lasting, beneficial effect on the bones.
Plus, there’s a huge amount of evidence that links a higher protein diet with better bone density, a lower risk of osteoporosis, and fewer fractures among older people.
Meat also provides you with much-needed calcium (and protein) to support your bones and muscles. (Remember, you should always get your calcium from your diet—not from supplements.) And meat’s a rich source of B vitamins, vitamins D and E, minerals, and amino acids.
All in all, meat can—and should—be part of your healthy, balanced, Mediterranean-type diet. Just make sure to get it from organically raised, free-range, grass-fed and -finished cattle.
If you still need help cutting through all the myths about meat, take a look at the September 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“Cage-free, grass-fed, organic…oh my!”). Subscribers have access to all of my content in the archives. So if you haven’t already, click here to sign up today!
“Effect of Lower Versus Higher Red Meat Intake on Cardiometabolic and Cancer Outcomes.” Annals of Internal Medicine, 2019. doi.org/10.7326/M19-0622