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The war on meat

By Alan Caruba
web posted February 14, 2005

You don't need to be a physician, a nutritionist, or even have a fancy degree to understand why humans eat meat. Just check the teeth in your mouth. There are twenty of them devoted to eating meat, but only twelve for fruit and vegetables.

If you are inclined to examine the human body further, you will discover, as Dr. Max Ernest Jutte, MD, pointed out in 1936, "the stomach is a carnivorous organ designed primarily to digest lean meat, and that the small intestine, pancreas, and liver are mainly herbivorous and designed to digest vegetables, fruits, fats, and farinaceous (starch) foods."

Dr. Jutte, by the time of his death at 84 in 1960 was widely and highly regarded as an authority on digestive disorders. A fan of his, now 80, is Frank Murray, the author of more than forty books on nutrition and health topics, brought him to my attention with his book, You Must Eat Meat, which incorporated the original 1936 text by Dr. Jutte, with his own. (Available from Amazon.com and www.huttonelecronicpublishing.com)

Americans have been under siege for years by the "nanny" federal government that insists on telling us what to eat and how much. The 2005 "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" is idiotic and rightly attacked. In a commentary published on Tech Central Station.com in January, Sandy Szwarc called the new guidelines "untenable the instant they abandoned the long-term pledge to promote better health for all Americans and instead made everything about weight." That word -- weight -- appears 150 times in an 84-page document.

The problem with this century-old governmental guide is that it was originally intended to provide recommendations on the minimum number of servings of various food groups so that the general population could receive a daily allowance of important nutrients. Said Szwarc, "That changed in 1977 when politicians got involved and its focus became outlining the goals for federal food programs, and hence what foods would receive government funding. From then on, as a glut of special interests sought to get their piece of the money pie, it has moved further from sound science."

Like too many government documents, it's the small print that matters and, in this case, the 2005 guideline's reference to 2,000 calories per day for adults refers to the amount needed by "sedentary woman, not by those following activity advice. An average woman," noted Szwarc, "walking just over three miles a day, for example, is considered active and requires 2,400 calories; an active man (needs) 3,200 or more."

You won't find that in most reports about the new US "food pyramid" that emphasized the growing scare campaign that says, "two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese." Thus, the guidelines place an emphasis on eating fruits and vegetables. Need it be said that the guidelines were greeted enthusiastically by one of the biggest scare mongerers when it comes to food, Michael F. Jacobson, of the absurdly named Center for Science in the Public Interest. According to one news article, "He wants the government to reduce junk-food advertising aimed at children, force food companies to reduce sodium and fat in their products, improve product labeling, and remove trans fats from the food supply." None of this is the government's business.

Simply stated, for far too many years, we have been told that meat is bad for us, but there is something buried in the human psyche that knows better. Take, for example, the recent revelations that the new Hardee's Monster Thickburger, packing 1,420 calories, has enjoyed big sales for that chain. The long-term success of McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's are testimony that the fact that Americans enjoy eating meat, despite the deluge of media blather that it is bad for you.

Forgotten amidst all the propaganda is the emotional, as well as, nutritional value of eating those foods you most enjoy. Forgotten, too, is the fact that we come in all sizes and shapes. Just think of all the fat kids who grew into fat adults, but who enjoyed good health despite failing to look like some anorexic Hollywood waif. In short, the media is driving everyone nuts on the subject of weight -- now assisted by new "official" government guidelines -- none of which has anything to do with good health when you consider the importance of eating MEAT!

For example, everything from various forms of cancer to high blood pressure is attributed to eating meat. As for the latter, Murray tells us "there is no scientific basis for such a belief. In fact, it has been pointed out that high blood is no less prevalent in races that have lived for ages on vegetarian diets." This is why one has to be constantly skeptical about the announcement of every new "study" that tells you meat in any form raises the risk for some form of cancer.

This is particularly true regarding all the claims about cholesterol as the root cause of a wide variety of diseases and health threats. Tied to the consumption of meats and fats, the monitoring and control of cholesterol levels has become a multi-billion dollar industry, but people are rarely told that the body needs cholesterol and will manufacture it. Indeed, the average human being uses and replenishes about two grams of cholesterol every day. When I recently underwent an annual physical exam, I was told that preventing a slightly elevated cholesterol level was advisable. The medication recommended had so many deleterious "side effects" I told the doctor I wanted no part of it.

The latest from researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, reported in the American Medical Association's Journal, claims that, "prolonged high consumption of red and processed meat may increase the risk of cancer in the distal portion of the large intestine." The operative word here and in all such claims is "MAY." A careful reading of the study reveals that the researchers had, in truth, found no association between red meat consumption and overall colon cancer risk after they factored in the study's subjects' exposure to other dietary or lifestyle risks.

In fact, diets rich in meat are a major factor in the regeneration of the blood and in tissue repair. As a tissue builder, meat has no equal. Moreover, meat is easily digestible because the human body is designed to digest it precisely because it is nearly identical in nature with human flesh and the body requires far less effort to convert it than it does for fruits and vegetables. This is why one is less likely to have digestive problems on a diet that includes meat.

Thank goodness for the cows and sheep that convert grass into meat!

If all this sounds ludicrous to you, you're right! If you have a strong desire to have a hamburger, a steak, a lamb chop or a slice of veal for dinner, listen to that voice in your head that says it's good for you, because it is. Do not listen to the voice that tempts you to over-eat anything. Eating in moderation and getting some exercise is the key to good health. You don't need the government to tell you that, do you?

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba, February 2005

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