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Veganism Not (quite) Required to be Perfectly Healthy

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[Virginia Tech Collegiate Times Online Edition - opinion - comments at full story link]

In this column I will explore some of the shocking claims about eating meat that I have seen. As a complement to Paige Pinkston's cogent "Beef: It's what's going to destroy the environment" (CT, Sept. 19) I will examine the health effects of eating animal products as described in "The Food Revolution." In the book, John Robbins, the son of the ice cream magnate, recommends a vegan diet as the best path to long-term health. In criticizing his work we should examine the evidence.

Amazingly, red meat causes 40 out of every 100 deaths from cancer. An 11,000-person, 12-year study published in the British Medical Journal concludes that there is a "roughly 40-percent reduction in mortality from cancer in vegetarians and fish eaters compared with (non-fish) meat eaters."

The American Institute of Cancer Research's metastudy finds that although meat can be part of a balanced diet, one should eat red meat infrequently and stop eating all processed meats (pepperoni, sausage, lunch meats, etc.). Despite what Robbins implies, the Institute maintains "it is not necessary to become a strict vegetarian."

Therefore you can reduce your risk of cancer by eating very little red meat or none at all.

Although Robbins' assertions are not backed by evidence, the data about red meat and cancer are frightening.


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