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Food Is a Package Deal

Studies suggest plant-based diets are best for cancer prevention.

September 3, 2008 |
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Image thanks to smith_cl9.

Transcript

What about meat? Overall: harmful, harmless, or helpful? Harmful??? Harmless???, Helpful??? Overall, harmful.

Food is a package deal. Yes, there’s lots of nutrients in beef, for example. Let me say that again: There are lots of nutrients in beef—they’re plant eaters; their bodies are packed with nutrients. But, even though they claim you can “have it your way,” you can’t go to Burger King and order a whopper and say “can I get that without cholesterol, no artery-clogging saturated fat, and… hold the hormones.” Doesn’t work that way. Food is a package deal.

The baggage that accompanies the nutrients in meat includes cancer. Two Harvard studies rolled into one--over 100,000 people studied. Bacon and chicken, they found, may double your the risk of bladder cancer. Same with pancreatic cancer—you do not, want to die, of pancreatic cancer. Long Island women eating lots of barbeque, have up to 74% greater risk of getting breast cancer. “Cooked meat and risk of breast cancer.” What do you get from raw meat? You don’t even want to know. No, what they mean is they thought it was grilling, the frying that really cancers up the meat, but this study a few months earlier back in ‘06 found that for endometrial cancer, at least, it didn’t matter how women cooked the meat, And didn’t matter if it was red meat or white meat—in fact those eating poultry and fish in this study had the highest risk for cancer.

Another 35,000 women studied “Conclusion: Women, both pre- and postmenopausal, who consumed the most meat had the highest risk of breast cancer.” It’s funny, if you look at the acknowledgements for the study you see that an earlier analysis of the study was funded by the Meat and Livestock Commission, but evidently when they found out the results, they weren’t quite as enthusiastic in their support.

The latest study this year found that breast cancer risk goes up over 50% for each 100 grams of meat women eat every day—that’s like a one piece of chicken. 50% increased breast cancer risk per drumstick.

And these are just the brand new studies. One can go back in time to 1686, one of the first medical texts ever published; we’ve known about the meat and cancer connection for centuries.

The most authoritative report on diet and cancer in history, was published in 1997, the World Cancer Research Fund tome, which reviewed essentially every study on diet and cancer ever published. It concluded: "Choose a diet that is predominantly plant based, rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans with minimally processed starchy foods," meaning whole grains, so fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains. That's what thousands of studies point towards for cancer prevention, a whole-foods plant-based diet.

Well, ten years later they just published the sequel, covering the thousands of studies published in the last decade. They came to the same conclusion as before—plant-based diets—but found even stronger evidence implicating obesity, alcohol, and meat, especially cured meats like bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on cancer. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on cancer. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Dpardoaguilar

    Thanks for posting this informative video.  are all meats harmful? I understand chicken and eggs cause the most inflammation.  how about seafood?