© Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk
A recent report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) titled 'Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat' has garnered a significant amount of media attention the world over in the past few days. As usual, the mainstream media didn't hesitate to take the opportunity to ramp up fear among the masses with sensationalist headlines like 'Processed meats do cause cancer - WHO' (BBC), 'If meat causes cancer, What can we eat?' (CNN), and 'Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer' (Washington Post).

These types of definitive statements, however, have not been limited to sensationalist media headlines, with even the World Health Organization itself making such claims on social media:


The WHO claims that this new study provides us with "sufficient evidence" to show that the consumption of processed meat is the cause of colorectal cancer and is therefore classified as "carcinogenic to humans". Just for the record, "processed meat" refers to any meat that has been salted, cured, smoked, fermented, canned, or has been through any other process to improve the flavour or preservation. WHO goes on to explain that there is also "substantial epidemiological data" to show that unprocessed red meat is also "probably carcinogenic to humans".

These are pretty bold claims to make given the dominance of meat in the human diet. WHO is generally considered a trustworthy and reliable source of information. Does this mean that we should simply accept what we have been told, throw out our refrigerated meat and turn vegetarian, or would it be wise to dig a little deeper?

Let's take a look at some of the supposed "sufficient" and "substantial" evidence. According to the WHO, a body of research scientists assessed "more than 800 epidemiological studies that investigated the association of cancer with consumption of red meat or processed meat in many countries, from several continents, with diverse ethnicities and diets".

Notice that the assessment was investigating the association and not causation, which we will deal with further on. The WHO goes on to say: "For the evaluation, the greatest weight was given to prospective cohort studies done in the general population. High quality population-based case-control studies provided additional evidence."

So the WHO's evidence is based on two types of study design: 1) prospective cohort studies, and 2) population-based case-control studies. If you're unfamiliar with those terms, don't worry because I will explain what they mean and how they prove that the report's conclusions are deeply flawed.

First of all, a 'prospective cohort study' is the study of a group of similar individuals (cohorts) that is conducted over (usually long) periods of time. At the beginning of the study the investigators collect the same basic set of data from each of the study participants in order to obtain an accurate set of information regarding their lifestyle, diet, and health choices, before any of the participants develop disease. Participants are then followed over a period of time 'longitudinally' to determine if and when they become diseased and whether other lifestyle/nutritional factors have changed. This type of study is called an observational study and can only be used to identify correlation or an association between two factors, not causation. Chris Kresser gives an example: "the difference between correlation and causation is that elevated white blood cell count is correlated with infections. But that doesn't mean elevated white blood cell counts cause infections!" There is a correlation between both factors, but that alone does not, and cannot, prove causation.

Secondly, 'population-based case-control studies' investigate a group of individuals with a specific disease or condition and compare them with a control group who are similar in a variety of ways, such as gender, age, geographical location, etc. Researchers obtain a wide array of historical data from each participant and then compare the healthy control group with the diseased group to identify the potential factors that may have caused the disease. Again, this is an observational study that can only be used to identify statistical correlation, not causation. Observational studies serve a purpose: to provide a foundation of data from which hypotheses can be drawn, not conclusions.

These are basic scientific principles and are relatively simple to understand, yet they are not being applied to this most recent set of data published by the WHO. Just because a correlation between red/processed meat and cancer has been identified, it certainly does not mean that meat is the causative factor. For anyone to make this blatant assumption, they must be either scientifically untrained, or, which I suspect is more likely, deliberately promulgating false conclusions in order to benefit their personal, or otherwise invested, agendas. Either way, this is methodologically unsound and, to put it simply, bad science.

Furthermore, something known as the 'healthy user bias' must also be taken into consideration when assessing observational studies. In today's society, people are bombarded with similarly inaccurate conclusions (read: lies) on a daily basis about the dangers of red meats, saturated fats and tobacco (primary scapegoats for the cancer pandemic). These lies are systemically entrenched in almost every aspect of the international healthcare systems in which we live. From an early age, we are indoctrinated by the education system in what is or is not considered healthy, and then later on we are influenced by the same lies and propaganda in most other areas of our lives.

There are groups of people who place their faith in mainstream nutritional guidelines, take pride in their health and do the best they can to maintain what they have been led to believe is a healthy lifestyle. They avoid red meats and saturated fats, but they also avoid other foods that are actually unhealthy, such as certain processed foods, refined sugars, trans-fats, excessive amounts of carbohydrates and alcohol. There is an increased chance that these people are more physically active and engage in an overall healthier lifestyle. On the other hand, those who stick with red meat despite their belief that it is unhealthy are also more likely to consume other genuinely toxic foods in their diet in conjunction with meat. I would postulate that this toxicity is the main cause of cancer that is displayed in these studies, rather than anything else. So again, this is bad science.

But we see that time and time again, mainstream science is not interested in presenting facts, and neither is the mainstream media for that matter. What's more important is the preservation and perpetuation of the failed nutritional guidelines based on fraudulent science that only serve to increase profits and markets for the industry giants like Big Agra, Biotech, Food and Pharma industries.

What people need to understand is that the health of the general public is not profitable for big business. Like any business, supply and demand is how things work. It is important for these guys to make sure that their 'produce' is always in demand, and the agricultural industry is the most successful at doing this. Grains are phenomenally cheap to cultivate, they grow in abundance and sell for large profits. Never mind that they are not fit for human consumption and have been linked to the majority of modern human illnesses. If you're in this line of work, it also helps to have a few scientists and government officials in your back pocket so that you can covertly exert your influence on public opinion and convince the average person that your produce is a healthy option that should make up the main part of their diet. This also helps your buddies over at Big Pharma by maintaining a perpetual state of illness to ensure that the people continually depend upon the pharmaceutical industry for a steady supply of medicines. It's a closely-knit system, and it works extremely well for those pathological types right up there at the top of the control structure.

These are the kinds of people who are trying to dictate what you should eat and how you should live your life and, for what it's worth, they couldn't care less about the state of your health. The truth is that it's up to you to take control of your health, because you simply cannot trust the established authorities. We live in an environment that has been so utterly polluted - be it the water that we drink, the chemical-laden air that we breathe, or the constant exposure to EMF radiation to which we are subjected - that one of the few things that we do actually have some control over is the food that we put in our mouths. So make it count...

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Fry-up for breakfast; the healthiest way to start the day
Here's the crux of the matter: In reality, red meat is actually one of the most (if not the most) nutrient-dense food sources available to the human body, and I can't stress that point enough. It is an extremely important component of nutrition, and removing it from the diet could result in a rapidly decaying state of health. Here are just a few of the things required for the body to function efficiently that are found in abundance in grass-fed, organic red meat:

Fat-Soluble Vitamins: For many of us who live in the northern hemisphere, adequate sunlight exposure can be difficult to get in the winter months. Fortunately, red meat contains a significant amount of vitamin D and its consumption enables the body to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D even when sunlight exposure is low. Oily fish also contains vitamin D, however it lacks the metabolite 25-hydroxycholecalciferol that is found mainly in red meat and which allows the vitamin D to become assimilated much faster and more easily by the body. This study even found a positive correlation between red meat consumption and the prevention of rickets, a degenerative disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin A in the form of Retinols found in animal products is easily absorbed when compared with Caretenoids, its vegetable counterpart found in carrots. Red meat also contains valuable amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin E.

Iron: There are different forms of nutritional iron, and some are more bio-available than others. It is often said that certain vegetables such as spinach provide the body with adequate amounts of iron, yet this is actually a common misconception. Vegetable-sourced iron is called non-heme iron, and contrary to popular belief, this is very difficult for the body to absorb. On the other hand, the heme iron contained within red meat is absorbed more efficiently and can be readily utilized by the body.

B Vitamins: Red meat contains significant amounts of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to a multitude of different health conditions ranging from Alzheimer's to Multiple Sclerosis to Autism. Note that vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods, therefore the best way to ensure you have adequate levels is to eat plenty of red meat. Red meat also contains a spectrum of other B vitamins including riboflavin, thiamin, B6 and niacin. Deficiency in B vitamins has also been linked to vascular and cognitive impairment.

Other minerals: Red meat also contains a vast array of minerals that are vital for the body to function properly. These include zinc, copper, phosphorous, chromium, nickel, selenium, magnesium, cobalt, choline, and Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 plays a vital role in the production of energy and prevents oxidative stress. The best sources of CoQ10 are pork and beef heart, compared with vegetable sources which are negligible.

In addition, any gastroenterologist will tell you that meat is the "lowest residue" food you can eat, i.e. meat does the least damage, leaves the least residue and causes the least irritation to the intestines. That such a food would be identified by the WHO as the cause of colorectal cancer defies all logic.

Reading through the long list of nutrients that can be found in red meat, is it any wonder vegetarians are less healthy, have smaller brains and why 84% of them eventually revert back to eating meat (myself included)? The very fact that meat's nutritional benefits are even being questioned seems completely insane, since the primary cause of our evolution into modern human beings was by eating a primarily meat-based diet, and that the human body actually functions very well on a meat-based diet.

Sometimes I wonder... can popular opinion divert any further from the truth? Then occasionally it comes back around full circle and I realize the mainstream media actually tell the truth without knowing it:
"Red Meat Is Just As Likely To Give You Cancer As A Cigarette, The World Health Organization Says"
Fortunately for a meat-eating smoker like myself, neither meat nor smoking tobacco cause cancer, so let's all light up and eat some bacon!

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