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My Blog


The Red Meat Controversy

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM
There is a lot of controversy surrounding a diet high in red meat content. This started with the cholesterol controversy (which has been resoundingly debunked by guys a lot smarter than me - Dr Jonny Bowden, Dr Mercola, Dr Briffa, Coach Charles Poliquin and a number of pharmaceutical "whistle blowers" in the USA who confirm what a lot of us fear - that cholesterol is vital for body function and that reducing it could actually be counterproductive to good health!)
This is an argument for another day - but what is obvious from the research out there is that the old LDL = bad, HDL = good paradigm is a gross oversimplification of a far more complex issue. What we need to worry about is oxidisded cholesterol, that is the stuff that "sticks" to arterial walls and forms the plaques that obviously have serious cardiovascular risk properties. So hard cheeses are often rich in that type, which is why I always recommend to my clients that they eat more mozarrella or feta if they do like cheese.
So, let us, for the sake of argument, put aside the cholesterol issue. Then there is the highly controversial "China Study" which is often cited as a classic in "poor science". It was published by a vegetarian who sought to railroad his own views into the study. As an epidemiological study it seeks to jam cause and effect together. Tim Ferriss, excellent author of the exceptional "Four Hour Body" compared this kind of study to saying that there are less pirates on the planet now than hundreds of years ago, and that in that time the global climate has got warmer. Therefore a lack of pirates is responsible for Global get the jist! The idea that people who eat red meat are more prone to coronary heart disease is also a myth, albeit one that has resoundingly stuck in peoples conciousness.
What I would say is this - red meat often has more fat. Fat is a great storage sight for toxins (hence the reason you feel rubbish on a fat loss diet often - the toxins released from the fat stores enter the blood stream). So, what do we do? Well I think the only way forward is to eat as organically as we conceivably can. It is better from a sustainable ethos, an ethical basis and a health perspective.
"Ah, alright for you to say!" I hear you shout, "but its so bloody expensive!". Well try and get down to your Farmers Market (plenty around these parts - and supportive of local business), and if does cost more - than buy organic where you can, and just eat less of it!
This was a brilliant tip given by Mike Mahler (a vegetarian who, rightly, abhors the horrendous practices of some factory farming practices.)
The crux is, eat red meat, in moderation but ensure that the source is good.
One additional thing I would add, which people often neglect when they waffle on about eating more red meat is...balance it with plenty of alkalizing drinks or green vegetables. It is highly acidic so you do need to get the PH balance right in your body.

Categories: Nutrition

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