Scientists Finally Discover Exactly Why Eating Red Meat Causes Cancer


A new study out of the University of California, San Diego has discovered the culprit behind why red meat leads to higher instances of cancer in humans — and it all has to do with a sugar.

Humans are the only animals that have a higher risk of cancer when it comes to eating red meat. Other carnivores eat red meat naturally with no ill side effects. The study, which was published Dec. 29 in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” discovered that a unique sugar called Neu5Gc, found in most mammals but not in humans, triggers an immune response that in turn causes inflammation. Most other carnivores’ bodies are built to process this sugar — human bodies are not.

The study lead, Ajit Varki, MD, is a distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine and member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. He explained the effect Neu5Gc had in mice:

“Until now, all of our evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or indirectly predicted from somewhat artificial experimental setups … This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans — feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies — increases spontaneous cancers in mice.”

When humans eat a diet that includes lots of red meat, the sugar molecule triggers the immune system to constantly produce antibodies to fight it off. This leads to chronic inflammation, which many studies have shown promotes tumor growth, leading to cancer.

“The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by … But on a more general note, this work may also help explain potential connections of red meat consumption to other diseases exacerbated by chronic inflammation, such as atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. Of course, moderate amounts of red meat can be a source of good nutrition for young people. We hope that our work will eventually lead the way to practical solutions for this catch-22.”

If for some reason you believe eating red meat every day (even if it is grass-fed) isn’t a bad thing, now you have proof. Sorry, meat eaters, humans just aren’t built to be true carnivores.

Source: UC San Diego


“Eat Meat and You Will Die,” Says an Infographic

With all this jabber about the usage of “pink slime” in our meat supply and recent studies (arguably not very new) that point to the destructiveness of consuming red meat, it’s only fitting someone would come along and create a thoroughly simple infographic entitled “Eat Meat & Die.

That is what infographics are good at. Take a hot button issue, aggregate a few sources, make it clean, catchy, buzzworthy and give publishers and social media soldiers a few key themes to latch onto. It makes people feel informed, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, these graphics are usually a pretty good segue into active conversation — ideally, a segue into active research.

As part of a perpetually infographic-consuming web audience, we should be wary of the type of visuals we get bombarded with on a daily basis. I’m definitely not one to talk, when I see a colorful graphic that seems to aggregate and subsequently analyze information for me, I immediately consider myself an expert on whatever topic the infographic was covering.

Cupcake infographic? Yes, I am now the only person in my friend group that knows that Cupcakes are served at 13% of Weddings. Beer isn’t bad, I read in a beer infographic that Egyptian children were baptized with beer. Coffee and tea are good for you? Yes, this infographic said so!

So what does all this cynicism have to do with this Eat Meat & Die infographic? The graphic claims that substituting a daily serving of red meat with Chicken or Whole Grains will reduce risk of early death by 14%. If you substitute a daily serving of red meat with a serving of nuts reduces the risk of early death by 19%. Cool jazz, eat more greens, less bacon, am I right?

The graphic does a splendid job summarizing web links that coin vegetables/nuts/white meat as healthy alternatives to red meat. Consumers of red meat probably won’t argue against this research, but they should play devil’s advocate with the entire section highlighting the main causes of death in the U.S., Latin America and Australia. According to the chart, the leading cause of death in these three countries is heart disease.

Eat Meat & Die? I’m no dietician, but heart disease is a complicated issue. The graphic makes no note of all the people who suffer from heart disease who have supplemented their diets with other vices, such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, cocaine binges, and the amount of additional stress that faces us every morning on our commute to work.

In essence, if you never consume an ounce of meat in your life, you are still susceptible to death. So with this in mind, yes, if you eat meat, you will die. You will also die if you eat a locally-sourced grain of rice. Trust me, whether it’s tomorrow, or in 2097, you will die one day.

Facetiousness aside, infographics are meant to be buzzworthy and high-concept, and proper awareness of health trends and proper eating habits are always important.

You be the judge, does this infographic do anything for you?


Hit-Or-Miss Humor

United Steaks of America

Better snatch these up before it’s too late. If you love meat, steak in particular and you also claim to be an art connoisseur then this is perfect for you. There is not much, food wise, that’s more American than steak. The United Steaks of America is a art series of 5-layer screen-prints on freezer paper, rendered in the shape of a US state. There are only 10 of each state being made, each one being 9″ x 16″ in size. $100 gets you all 50 states, and makes you the owner of one of the coolest art collections known to man. I should just buy a set, and then open a steak house based on that theme with the same name. Don’t take my idea. (Thx Etsy) (Source: Coolmaterial)


Craving: Strip Steak and Chimichurri Sauce


I haven’t had strip steak in a long time, and I don’t recalling having mine with chimichurri sauce. Especially a chimichurri sauce made of all completely fresh ingredients. Why doesn’t someone come over here and make this for me. I mean I can make it, but I don’t want to, I just want to stare at the picture and drool. (Thx Eclecticcook)