Many of their articles are passively against Vegetarianism and in support of the meat industry. For example when the rest of the world is leaning toward a vegetarian diet and the meat industry is lacking support especially for Red Meat, Harvard researchers found previously that Red Meat was okay but in moderation.
Similarly when the world is crying out about the truth behind Eggs, salmonella poisoning, the suffering of chickens in their tight over crowded pens, etc, our friends at Harvard say there's no problem Eating Eggs Similarly there are many web pages and books written by Egg companies and Egg marketting boards saying that eggs are okay - I wonder why - I wonder if there might be a motive for that ??? Similarly the NZ Beef and Lamb put out their nonsensical booklet.
We can do the same thing by simply a few page presentations like this one from the Apple marketting board which states "Red Meat Diet Raises Colon Cancer Risk." or from another source that suggests that Beef is what is rotting in your colon!
Then we find articles from the Harvard fellowship saying to Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and minimize red meat.
Plant-Based Diets Validated by Harvard researchers.......... but they are still not prepared to cross the committment line and admit to a Well Balanced Vegetarian Diet Being Better Than One That Includes Meat TIME (July 2002), at least not right at the moment........
Hello there Harvard Researchers, why not simply admit that a balanced Vegetarian diet is better all round for individuals, for society, for the environment, for all concerned. You get it close, and hey I didn't spend a 100th $$$$$$$ of what you people do to find these conclusions.
We have to forget who funds us or sponsors us when it comes to telling the truth and presenting all the facts as they are in an unbiased way.
The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, which should be obtained from a health-care provider. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products. ©2002 President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Harvard Researchers, and the Cancer Society, the Heart Foundation all suggest to lay off the Red Meat.
Eating a lot of red meats, refined grains, french fries, and other typically Western foods will increase your risk of developing diabetes as an adult by more than half, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers.
The Harvard's very own Vegetarian Nutrition and Health Letter (From the November/December issue) poses the question and powerfully provides the answer:
DO YOU NEED MEAT?
Meat is often touted as a super source of nutrients such as protein, iron, and zinc. But are you in danger of deficiency if you don't eat meat? Not if you consume a well-balanced vegetarian diet.
Protein: A single serving of meat provides roughly 25 grams of protein or about one-half the RDA. This means that the average meat eater gets far more protein than he or she needs, and is at greater risk for problems like osteoporosis and possibly kidney disease. Vegetarians, on the other hand, have adequate but not excessive intakes of protein. A cup of beans provides about 15 grams of protein, and a half cup of grains or vegetables provides about 3 grams. This means that meeting protein needs on a vegetarian diet--with or without animal products like dairy and eggs--is a breeze, provided you eat a variety of plant foods. Make sure you meet calorie needs as well, since protein needs increase when calorie intake is too low. As we've pointed out before, there is no need to eat special combinations of foods to meet protein needs.
Iron: While meat is indeed very rich in iron, research shows that high intake of heme iron (the kind found in meat) and high iron stores (which are typical of men who eat meat) may increase risk for heart disease and cancer. It makes more sense to get iron from plant foods. Plant foods are abundant in non-heme iron, and vegetarian diets are typically higher in iron than diets that contain meat. The iron in vegetarian diets is absorbed less well, so make sure you maximize absorption by eating a source of vitamin C with every meal. And avoid calcium supplements with meals, since high doses of calcium interfere with absorption. Among the best sources of iron are whole grains (enriched grains are a super source as well and can be a good choice for children especially), legumes, dried fruits, tomato juice, and potatoes (with their skins).
Zinc: Vegetarian diets tend to be adequate in zinc, but absorption of this nutrient is not as efficient from plant foods as from animal foods, so vegetarians must give some extra attention to it. Do identify several good sources of zinc that you enjoy and that you can include in your diet frequently. Some good sources include bran flakes and other bran cereals, peas, sea vegetables, legumes (especially adzuki beans, chickpeas, and tempeh), nuts and seeds (especially peanuts, Brazil nuts, and tahini), milk, yogurt, and cheese. Watch for a feature article on zinc in VNHLin 1999.
The bottom line:Given the risks associated with red meat and the fact that it doesn't have any unique nutritional value, meat doesn't seem to offer anything that justifies its consumption.
Red Meat and Health:
Vegetarian diets offer protection against chronic disease in a number of ways. A plant-based menu is higher in fiber, nutrients like folate and vitamin E, and in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. But what vegetarians don'teat counts, too. Vegetarian diets are typically lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. These kinds of observations have led some experts to suggest that a prudent omnivore diet that includes lean meats can reap the benefits of a vegetarian diet, as long as the omnivore diet is rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables, and avoids more fatty animal foods. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen. Some research challenges this idea--particularly where red meat is concerned.
There is no question that red meat is a concentrated source of many nutrients. Most importantly, it provides protein, iron, and zinc. But since protein is well supplied from a variety of plant foods, and deficiency is rare among vegetarians, the fact that meat supplies this nutrient is of little importance. Furthermore, while vegetarians have adequate protein intake, most Westerners get far too much. High protein, from meat in particular, may adversely affect bone health.
Although red meat is also touted as a good source of well-absorbed iron, vegetarians seem to get plenty of this nutrient, since iron deficiency is not a common problem in the vegetarian population. And high iron intakes have been linked to increased risk for heart disease and possibly to increased risk for cancer.
People who don't eat meat do need to give a bit of extra attention to zinc in their diets. Red meat is one of the better food sources of this nutrient, but vegetarians can get adequate zinc by consuming nuts, seeds, legumes, and dairy foods. The fact is, plant foods can provide the same nutrients that are in red meat and they also provide some unique compounds. Both fiber and phytochemicals, which have numerous health benefits, are abundant in plant foods but are not found in meat. However, establishing that red meat isn't necessary for health and that it lacks a number of health-promoting factors isn't the same as saying that it may be detrimental to your health.
Criticisms of red meat have always focused on the fact that it is high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. While fat content of different cuts of meat varies markedly, there is little doubt that the commonly consumed types are high in total fat--averaging about 50 percent of calories. A 3 -ounce serving of ground beef labeled "lean" provides 18 grams of fat and more than 7 grams of saturated fat. If a person consumes 2,000 calories per day and aims to keep fat intake down to 25 percent of calories, that single small serving of beef provides a third of the day's total fat allowance. Not surprisingly, the Adventist Health Study (see the October VNHL) found that men who consumed beef four or more times per week were twice as likely to die from heart disease as men not consuming beef.1
Red meat has also been linked to increased cancer risk. In a comprehensive review of existing studies, Dr. Sheila Bingham, of the Dunn Nutrition Center in Cambridge, England, concluded that, although there is some inconsistency, studies suggest that red meats and processed meats increase colorectal cancer risk.2The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) summarized the research with this conclusion in their landmark report, Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: "Diets containing substantial amounts of red meat probably increase the risk of colorectal cancerÖalso, such diets possibly increase the risk of pancreatic, breast, prostate, and renal cancers." In their dietary recommendations for reducing cancer risk, the WCRF advised that red meat, if eaten at all, should be limited to three ounces daily.3Harvard health expert Walter Willet suggest that, " the optimal amount of red meat to be eaten is zero."4
Several theories have been proposed for the observed relationship between red meat and cancer risk. First, the high iron content of red meat may promote the generation of free radicals, molecules that lead to oxidation of DNA. Oxidized DNA has been linked to cancer. One recent study at Wayne State University in Detroit showed that both beef and pork intake were linked to DNA damage and, therefore, possibly to cancer risk.5(see Findings in the July/August issue of VNHL).
Another theory focuses on the changes that occur when red meat is cooked, especially at high temperatures under moist conditions. This leads to the production of compounds in meat called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These are mutagens--compounds that can cause changes in DNA and raise risk for cancer. The way meat is prepared affects production of HCA. Those who eat meat that is fried or well done have a greater risk for cancer than those who eat meat cooked in other ways. Further, certain individuals are "fast metabolizers" of HCAs. They metabolize the compounds more quickly, putting them at greater risk for cancer. One study found that fast metabolizers who consumed well done meat were three times more likely to develop colon cancer than slower metabolizers. The relationship held when the two groups consumed meat that was prepared to the rare or medium stage. And when fast metabolizers consumed meat that was well-done, their cancer risk was six times greater than slow metabolizers who ate rare or medium-cooked beef.6The rate at which a person metabolizes HCAs is genetically determined. HCAs may also raise risk for heart disease, since there is some evidence that they damage heart muscle cells.
Finally, toxic compounds, called nitroso compounds, are produced in
the colon when red meat is consumed. These mutation-causing compounds increase
dramatically in proportion to increased red meat consumption. One theory
is that the unabsorbed iron from meat is responsible for this effect.7
Although most of the concern has focused on the relationship of red meat to cancer and heart disease risk, it may affect risk for other diseases as well. Red meat may promote the growth of certain bacteria that produce a toxic metabolite, a spasmogen that weakens the wall of the colon and favors the development of diverticuli.8Additionally, meat protein may increase risk of kidney stones.9
Finally, a very speculative but interesting theory about red meat, and about meat in general, has been put forth by Dr. Steven Provonsha of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Kaiser Permanente. He suggests that consumption of flesh food, because it is body tissue, activates a hormonal response like that seen in injury, illness, or starvation. That is, the body mistakenly thinks that it is starving and, as a result, defense or survival mechanisms are triggered. While these defense mechanisms are crucial to survival during starvation, under normal conditions these hormonal changes could increase risk of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease in response to repeated flesh consumption over a prolonged period of time.
Although more research is needed in all of these areas, it is clear that at least part of the benefit of vegetarian diets is due to avoidance of foods like red meat. But it is certainly not the whole story. What vegetarians doeat probably matters just as much. The key to a healthful vegetarian menu lies in eating a wide variety of whole plant foods including whole grains, plenty of legumes, and generous amounts of fruits and vegetables.
2. Cancer Lett 114: 25-34, 1997
3. Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective
4. Willet's quote
5. J Am Diet Assoc 98: 524, 1998
6. Cancer Epidemiol, Biomarkers & Prev 3: 675-682, 1994
7. Carcinogenesis 17: 515-523, 1996.
8. Gut 26: 541-543, 1986.
9. N Engl J Med 328: 333-838, 1993.
10. Personal communication