Let them eat steak: How to eat meat the healthy way


Simon Danaher By Linda Geddes BACON causes breast cancer; chops clog your arteries. The headlines are clear – if you care about your health, you shouldn’t be eating meat. Once considered the star attraction of a balanced, healthy plate of food, meat is now linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer. Add the environmental concerns over a growing global appetite for meat, and it seems meat should now be an occasional guilty pleasure rather than a daily staple, or so we are told. Yet the evidence isn’t quite as clear-cut as the headlines suggest, and not everyone is convinced of the perils of tucking into a juicy steak. A growing body of research – which is, perhaps unsurprisingly, being championed by the meat industry – suggests that recommendations to cut down on or give up meat altogether are too restrictive and could even be doing us more harm than good. Who should we believe, and are the dire warnings about the health risks of eating meat justified? The first hints that meat isn’t all it’s cut out to be came in the 1970s, says Denis Corpet, who studies the role of diet in cancer at the University of Toulouse in France. “Surveys started to show that countries that eat a lot of meat see more colorectal cancer than countries where people eat very little.” That link to cancer was more firmly established in 2007, with a World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) report which pulled together the results of 14 studies,
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