IARC Meat Vote Is Dramatic and Alarmist OverreachMonday, October 26, 2015
Cancer Is Complex and a Balanced Diet is Key to Staying Healthy,
Says North American Meat Institute
Washington, DC -- The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) said a vote by an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph panel classifying red and processed meat as cancer “hazards” defies both common sense and numerous studies showing no correlation between meat and cancer and many more studies showing the many health benefits of balanced diets that include meat. Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health.
“It was clear sitting in the IARC meeting that many of the panelists were aiming for a specific result despite old, weak, inconsistent, self-reported intake data, said Betsy Booren, Ph.D., NAMI Vice President of Scientific Affairs. “They tortured the data to ensure a specific outcome.”
“Red and processed meat are among 940 agents reviewed by IARC and found to pose some level of theoretical ‘hazard.’ Only one substance, a chemical in yoga pants, has been declared by IARC not to cause cancer,” said Dr. Booren.
“IARC says you can enjoy your yoga class, but don’t breathe air (Class I carcinogen), sit near a sun-filled window (Class I), apply aloe vera (Class 2B) if you get a sunburn, drink wine or coffee (Class I and Class 2B), or eat grilled food (Class 2A).And if you are a hairdresser or do shiftwork (both Class 2A), you should seek a new career.”
IARC’s panel was given the basic task of looking at hazards that meat could pose at some level, under some circumstance, but was not asked to consider any off-setting benefits, like the nutrition that meat delivers or the implications of drastically reducing or removing meat from the diet altogether.
“Followers of the Mediterranean diet eat double the recommended amount of processed meats. People in countries where the Mediterranean diet is followed, like Spain, Italy and France, have some of the longest lifespans in the world and excellent health,” said Dr. Booren.
“IARC’s decision simply cannot be applied to people’s health because it considers just one piece of the health puzzle: theoretical hazards. Risks and benefits must be considered together before telling people what to eat, drink, drive, breathe, or where to work,” she said.
Notes to editor
Meat nutrition facts:
- There are dozens of studies showing no correlation between meat and cancer and other studies showing the many health benefits of balanced diets that include meat.
- Meat is ‘nutrient-dense’ and vital to humans, especially children: It contains vitamins B12, B6 and D3, protein, iron and zinc.
- Meat is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the amino acids our bodies need. Non-meat proteins are not complete and must be eaten in combination with other foods to deliver all the amino acids.
- Meat contains heme iron, which is more readily absorbed by the body than the non-heme iron in plants. When meat is eaten with vegetables, meat’s heme iron helps the body absorb more non-heme iron from vegetable sources.
- Animal products like meat are the only natural sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for brain development in children and brain function throughout the lifetime.
- Numerous published studies show that those who choose a vegan diet are at increased risk of mental decline due to lack of B12, iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis and age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia).
Mental decline: http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1111%2Fjgs.12690?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&purchase_site_license=LICENSE_DENIED_NO_CUSTOMER
Iron deficiency: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917888/
- The UN and WHO recommend consuming meat to address common nutrition conditions, especially in developing countries
For more information about the nutrition benefits of meat and studies that show no relationship between meat and cancer, visit www.MeatPoultryNutrition.org
Benefits of balanced diet
- Data considered recently by a U.S. government panel about the widely touted Mediterranean diet and found that those who follow this diet actually consume twice as many processed meats as those who follow the U.S. government recommended dietary pattern.
- According to a recent review of the science of red meat nutrition by a U.S. government toxicologist and nutritionist, “The field of nutrition has a long list of failures. Moderate intake of a variety of foods that are enjoyed by people remains the best dietary advice.”
Problems with IARC’s classifications
- List of IARC classifications:
- The American Cancer Society says that IARC’s list of carcinogens need to be considered in the appropriate context:
“The lists themselves say nothing about how likely it is that an agent will cause cancer. Carcinogens do not cause cancer at all times, under all circumstances. Some may only be carcinogenic if a person is exposed in a certain way (for example, swallowing it as opposed to touching it). Some may only cause cancer in people who have a certain genetic makeup. Some of these agents may lead to cancer after only a very small exposure, while others might require intense exposure over many years….Even if a substance or exposure is known or suspected to cause cancer, this does not necessarily mean that it can or should be avoided at all costs…. If you have questions…be sure to ask your doctor.”share on facebook share on twitter