Yesterday was World Cancer Day. I had a particularly hectic day and would have missed this bit of information had I not been alerted to an article that appeared in The Independent, a British daily journal. Some of the most salient points of this piece by Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, deserve repeating here with hope that the message will resonate enough for people to take action.
Consistent with today’s sensational media headlines, the title “World Cancer Day: How meat can be murder” is certainly an attention-grabber. Unfortunately, what I find is that the people who already don’t eat meat get all fired up over an article like this and basically feel “see, I knew it!”, but the people who love and eat a lot of meat will probably not even read it, thinking it to be more tree-hugging, vegetarian propaganda that’s anti-establishment and even unpatriotic. My hope is that there is a very large, well-educated population out there that has begun to listen to all the clinical evidence emerging on this topic and has begun to seriously question meat consumption or already substantially cut back. As this vast middle ground continues to make the shift away from meat and the evidence then becomes an irresistible wave of momentum, meat will then take on the same universal profile as smoking.
Here are some of the key points:
- Unlike foods from plants that enhance our health, meat and dairy products have the same hazards as cigarette smoking, including increased risks of strokes, heart disease and cancer.
- Processed meat, such as bacon, sausage, ham, and the like, is so strongly linked with bowel cancer – the second-largest cause of cancer death in the UK – that no one should ever eat it, according to a recent report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, based on a systematic review of more than 1,000 papers on bowel cancer carried out at Imperial College London.
- In addition, the high fat content of meat and dairy products boosts hormone production, which increases the risk of hormone-related cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer.
- Plant foods are rich in fibre, which speeds the passage of food through the colon, effectively removing carcinogens and changing the type of bacteria present in the intestine to reduce the production of carcinogenic acids.
- Carotenoids, the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their colors, have also been shown to help protect against lung cancer and may help prevent cancer of the bladder, mouth, larynx, esophagus and breast as well.
- Studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 per cent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters.
Finally, the article does state outright that the graphic warning labels added to cigarette packs, which have helped curb smoking and its associated health risks, should also be placed on meat and dairy products for the same reason. You can read the whole article here.
- “You can prevent cancer,” Say Scientists (theepochtimes.com)
- World Cancer Day 2013 (calmyourbeans.wordpress.com)
- World Cancer Day: Foods That Fight Cancer (huffingtonpost.com)
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