More Than Meats The Eye

It seems around once a year smart alec media sensationalists backed by some overseas study stir the hornets nest that is the meat eater vs. vegetarian discussion. It’s a delish debate that has marketers licking their lips as both omnivores and vegetarians sink their chompers into it. However the great argument is largely fed by rhetoric, with empirical scientific evidence quickly dismissed as misleading. Well, supposedly until now…

Plated up recently in print all over the world, reports of a 28 year long study of 120,000 people that revealed “red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.”

‘Meh’ you might say, but put it this way, the study concludes, “…of the 24,000 deaths during the study period, 9500 people who participated would have survived if they had cut their meat consumption by at least in half.”

OK, scared? Hang on, before you reach for the tempeh, and putting aside disputes of observational vs. experimental studies and the determination of cause and effect, Question: What does the article say to the reader? Answer: That eating red meat will put you in an early grave, or it’s a good time to invest in soybeans.

Growing up with the legacy of British Sunday roasts and meat pies, a life without meat boggles the minds of some, where a meal isn’t a meal without a serving of meat. Even so, most would agree that pre-processed meat and large amounts of animal fats are harmful to your health, but we’re also told red meat is a important dietary source of protein and essential nutrients.

It goes on. We know that milk is high in calcium but can read elsewhere that pasteurisation prevents us from absorbing it. We’re also told the many health benefits of soy, and there’s information on processed soy causing infertility and heart disease. Fresh fruit and vegetables are natures wonder foods but may be genetically modified and contain pesticides… give us a break already.

This brings us to think what mass publication of such studies is trying to achieve other than a subliminal agenda or provoke controversy. Ultimately, is this latest studies purpose to persuade people off eating meat? Having lived vegan myself and knowing many people who are vegetarian or vegan, I’m not sure many have made their dietary choices based on the mortal effects of eating meat. It almost seems selfish really, one would think perhaps, in the mind of a vegetarian the concern is more the mortal effect on the animal!

All these studies leading to basting revelations such as “OMG reading blogs while drinking coffee can cause the plague!” present food for thought and contribute to the stock of information. So, which do you choose to serve as knowledge? “If you’ve been hanging around the nutrition world for very long, you’ve probably realised by now that health according to the media and health according to reality are two very different things” – Denise Minger (Author of Death by Food Pyramid)

So it begs the question, what influences you to decide what you will and won’t eat or what you feed your family?

Upbringing? Morals? Economics? Convenience or even political motivations? Or is just the thought of eating tripe or a mushroom make you gag?

All this author knows, is that if they keep saying a glass of red a day is good for you, I’m going to believe it!