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Deceptions in the Food Industry: Lean Meats

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Continuing on with Deceptions in the Food Industry series, last week I talked about the term “natural” on food labels and how misleading it is. This week I’m covering the myths about “lean meats” touted by so many conventional health experts.

Modern, developed societies have cultivated a fear and avoidance of fatty animal products. Doctors tell us to avoid red meat unless it is lean because of the inherent health risks of eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol in our diets. Ironically, we need both saturated fat and cholesterol for nearly every function in our bodies.

And here’s where I won’t argue: toxic, chemical-laden meats sold in most U.S. grocery stores and even from some farmers direct-to-customer would no doubt contribute to disease. Toxic chemicals, additives, hormones, and antibiotics used in the ommercial meat industry also cause the following: endocrine (hormonal) disruption, parasites, yeast overgrowth, reproductive issues, immune system suppression, digestive issues, mal-absorption of nutrients, and other problems.

These types of meat are also too high in Omega 6 fatty acids due to the way animals are raised on feedlots and fed grains, soy, corn, and other inappropriate substances. Consuming this type of meat contributes to an inflammatory state in the body. The result is weight gain and increase the development of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, and many other diseases. This is because cattle are ruminants and are designed to consume and digest grass. When they eat grain, corn, and soy, their digestive tracts become acidic and they develop disease.

Why are we told to eat these overly-lean meats?

Health fallacies

Since the early 1900s, mainstream medicine has railed on meats and animal products. We are told to avoid these foods because consuming them will be bad for our hearts and increase our cholesterol levels. But dietary cholesterol levels don’t correlate with cholesterol build-up in our bodies. Cholesterol is produced in response to inflammation in the body.

Ancel Keys, researcher from the University of Minnesota, did a study which pushed his Lipid Theory to the forefront of medical rhetoric about cardiovascular health. His studies, which were actually conducted in 22 countries, only included data from 7 of those countries that supported his theory that consuming animal fat was the primary culprit in the development of heart disease – both at the population and individual level.  Read this excellent rebuttal of Ancel Keys research from Denise Minger.

Industry-driven information

The enormous industry of agribusiness – or mainstream farming which controls at least 90 percent of our food supply – has powerful influence over lobbyists, special interest groups, and the government. In fact, you’ll find that many people who have held or currently hold powerful positions in agribusiness have close ties to government entities such as the FDA and the USDA – where laws are enforced in conjunction with our food supply.

As just one example, Michael R. Taylor, the Deputy Commissioner for Foods for the FDA, is a former legal representative with law firm King & Spaulding, which represented Monsanto – the corporate bio-terrorist responsible for propagating dangerous GMOs throughout the planet under the guise of “feeding the world” as a response to world hunger and growing population issues.

One of the latest occurrences of a former agribusiness mover being granted access to powerful government office is President Obama’s appointment of  Dr. Islam Siddiqui as chief negotiator in agriculture for the U.S. trade representative.The appointment of Siddiqui occurred without the approval of Congress and also in opposition to grave concerns voiced by citizens, organic producers, and small farm advocates.

In Siddiqui’s former position, he was undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs of organic labeling standards for the USDA. Under these same regulations, irradiation of foods and genetically modified (GMO) crops are permitted under the label of “organic.”  His efforts also included concerted efforts to persuade the European Union to use GMO crops and hormone-treated beef in the food supply.

The appointment of such individuals is nothing new to our government structure. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan appointed numerous livestock industry insiders to high-ranking USDA positions.  It is no surprise that various executives from companies like ConAgra, Monsanto, and others continue to occupy those same types of positions today. It certainly doesn’t make much financial sense to health and pharmaceutical industries when the populations they provide goods/services to are healthy and don’t need them.

Commercial meat contains toxins that harm health

Besides being lower in nutrition, containing antibiotics, hormones, genetically-modified substances, preservatives and other harmful chemicals, much of “lean meat” and also poultry sold in the U.S. commercial industry is likely to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, according to research published in the scientific journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases (April 2011).

These reports have been occurring for years. If you have been keeping up on reports from mainstream news, you’ll see that recalls of commercial meat products happen over, and over, and over again. Even more horrifying is the incidence of MRSA found in conventional various pork samples in the fall of last year, and yet no recall occurred at all.

Health benefits of real meat raised on pasture

In the historical past, populations eating indigenous diets highly-regarde animal products and in particular, whole, healthy fats. When Dr. Weston A. Price traveled around the world to learn why his patients had dental caries, degenerative bone disease and other health problems, he discovered that those communities eating large amounts of traditional foods including fats from healthy birds and animals had the lowest rates of all types of disease in on the planet.

Animal fat from healthy animals and birds raised on pasture contains abundant and critical nutrients for health. Nutrients from fats are easily absorbed into the body, unlike those found in plants, legumes, grains, nuts, and other foods marketed by the mainstream food and health industries.

Grassfed meats are becoming more visible in the food market these days, and with good reason. Mainstream health information discusses the importance of grassfed meats being “leaner”, containing less fat and less calories. But this is not why grassfed meats are healthier. Some grassfed meat contains less total quantity of fat, but these fats pack a nutrient-dense punch. Unlike toxic, greasy conventional meats, these fats contain more Omega 3s, conjugated linoleic acid, which reduce the risk of developing disease such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Omega 3s also support brain health.

From Eat Wild:

  • Meat from grassfed animals contains 2 to 4 times more Omega 3 essential fatty acids than meat from feedlot, grain-fed animals. These essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and are important for many functions. As well as brain health, Omega 3s support heart, circulation, and arterial function. Those who include Omega 3-rich foods in their diet have lower incidence of ADD, hyperactivity, depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Animals raised on pasture exclusively produce meat which contains 3 to 5 times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than their conventional counterparts. “CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA—a mere 0.1 percent of total calories—greatly reduced tumor growth.”
  • Grassfed beef is 4 times higher in Vitamin E than feedlot cattle. Vitamin E is associated with lower risk of heart disease and cancer.

Which will you choose – conventional “lean” meat or sustainable, pasture-raised meats?

Grassfed and sustainable meat and meat products are the obvious choice for both taste and flavor in animal products. When we support local, mindful farmers who produce healthy products, we support our health and the environment.

If you have tried eating meat and animal products and find that you still have issues with digestion and absorption, there is likely a digestive issue which needs addressing. A great way to get in the nutrient-dense foods you need for your body and heal your digestion is traditional food-based protocol like Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

More information

Tender Grassfed Meat
American Grassfed Beef

The Grassfed Meat Challenge: Busting Myths About Meat

Amazing Benefits of Grassfed Meat Mother Earth News
Cholesterol and Why Statin Drugs Are Harmful
1 in 4 Meat Packages Tainted With Pathogenic Bacteria