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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Red Meat Will Kill You

Sizzlin' steaks and hot dogs shorten lives, according to an extensive study of Americans

Like most proud carnivores out there, I once revered bacon. Eggs, burgers, ice cream—I was of the opinion that everything gets better when you add those succulent strips culled from our porcine friends. Then, on a recent wilderness outing for Trail Chef, where we tested a new technique for cooking camp bacon n' eggs (more on that later), I OD'd. Bacon saturated to the core, I drifted from one carne-induced hallucination to the next, wondering how I let the Devil's Meat take over my brain.

Luckily, I recovered, and I'm off the hard stuff. It couldn't have come sooner: A massive study of over 500,000 Americans has proven a long-held belief—namely, that excessive consumption of red and processed meats can actually shorten your life.

Scientists at the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health discovered that those in the survey who ate the most red meat had an increased mortality risk of 20-40 percent. Extrapolated to the whole population, doctors think over one million lives could be extended just by cutting back on red and processed meats.

If you love a good hunk o' flesh, though, they're not even suggesting you switch to Brussel sprouts—they just want Americans to cut back. Here's a few suggestions from the docs involved:
To prevent premature deaths related to red and processed meats, Dr. Popkin suggested in an interview that people should eat a hamburger only once or twice a week instead of every day, a small steak once a week instead of every other day, and a hot dog every month and a half instead of once a week.
As tough as it's going to be to give up my three-hamburgers-a-day habit, I'm certainly going to have to consider it now. Yeeesh.

(Looking for healthy camp recipes? Look no further than Trail Chef. And all you red-meat fans should weigh in on the comments section below—tell us how you bring your red meat into the backcountry.)

—Ted Alvarez

Paying a Price For Loving Red Meat (NY Times)

Bacon Cheese Pizza Burger Image Credit: Dustin Schirer on This is Why You're Fat

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mthiker
May 08, 2009

We bring in pemmican and quality jerky (not processed) for long trips, either home made with a food drier, or bought from a local butcher. Pemmican can be made with ground meat, nuts, and dried fruit, huckleberries are best!

Doc.
May 04, 2009

Tip's smoked over a fire, wraped in foil for the trail, soom rice and veg. as well with a little wine. That's a meal.

Gorbo
May 03, 2009

I like a nice NY Strip with Potatoes the first night. Freeze the Steak in a Ziploc bag after coating with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Grill over a small Indian fire on a Backpackers Grate. Long Peppers are also grilled with a coating of Olive oil. Microwave red potatoes for 4 minutes and wrap in foil with rosemary and oil. Place in fire for an hour or until finally cooked. Serve with a nice red wine.

Alaska Mountain man
May 02, 2009

I hunt moose, caribou, bear and other wild game, and I eat it. I am 64 years old and have NEVer been to a doctor for illness. However I do not eat store purchased beef.

Patrick Stoneking
May 02, 2009

Seems every few weeks we hear that red meat will kill you. However, they never seem to qualify that statement. What red meat? How was it grown? Grass fed beef is much different chemically than that so-called beef raised on corn. Moose is something all together different. I have seen no indication that eating red meat 2 times a day for 75 years has made much of an impact on the older members of my family. Of course, most of them grew or shot their own, rather than buying some factory farm raised junk. And lived to be 90, or even 100, is great health. We could be just lucky I guess.

Adrienne Saia
May 01, 2009

Whatever, that means I'll die before the robot apocalypse. Have fun defending yourselves, especially if John Connor eats meat cuz he'll be dead too.

Clearly, I am very, very serious about this.

Adrienne Saia
May 01, 2009

Whatever, that means I'll die before the robot apocalypse. Have fun defending yourselves, especially if John Connor eats meat cuz he'll be dead too.

Clearly, I am very, very serious about this.

Lisa
May 01, 2009

There's another reason to eliminate or minimize meat-eating: the environment. If you like the outdoors, -- you're reading "Backpacker", aren't you -- then you need to worry about how livestock destroys the land and water. I live near the Chesapeake, which has dead zones because of the Eastern Shore chicken industry. Crabs and oysters that supported early settlements are depleted almost to extinction in large part because of the water quality. Look at your favorite river or lake, and find out how commercial-size agriculture has altered it.

cipsyche
May 01, 2009

Could someone just please tell me where I can buy that gorgeous hunk of artery clogging meat and cheese pictured with this story?? If I only it once in my lifetime, I'll be ok, right?!? ;-)

GoWest
May 01, 2009

Everything in moderation, red meat is not bad, Too much red meat is bad. Who eats hamburgers every other day anyway?

I agree with Hoppes, wild game for me. Burn up some calories dragging that buck out of the woods!

RootBooter
May 01, 2009

For cryin' out loud, folks... The article is ultimately about moderation. I like a good steak, a good glass of wine and a good cigar -- any of which will kill you if you consume too much. Heck, too many bananas can throw your potassium out of balance. Too much water can be deadly. Lighten up!

RootBooter
May 01, 2009

For cryin' out loud, folks... The article is ultimately about moderation. I like a good steak, a good glass of wine and a good cigar -- any of which will kill you if you consume too much. Heck, too many bananas can throw your potassium out of balance. Too much water can be deadly. Lighten up!

Bud
May 01, 2009

I take my meat frozen with me, in lots bouble wrap.

FLoyd
May 01, 2009

Must eat meat. I like vegetables too, but must have meat as well on long hiking trips. On the trail, it's usually jerky, unless I bring along a fishing pole and license.

Jen--gotta agree that range fed beef or pork tastes better than feedlot beef, and might even be healthier for you. Need real studies though, not just opinions.

wildwest
May 01, 2009

Holy cow

EarlyMusicus
Apr 30, 2009

I can't say for sure if red meat will kill you (although e.coli doesn't help you have a good day), but judging from some of these mongo Neanderthal responses I'd have to say red meat doesn't do much for the brain cells.

hikerwdm
Apr 30, 2009

People unsubscribing because of an opinion piece?!? I hope that's not the only reason. If so, grow up! We do eat too much meat. You don't have to have meat with every meal. Moderation.

chip
Apr 30, 2009

I strive for a pound of red meat a day and I am as health as a horse (expect for the occasionally massive chest pain). Eat lots of red meat and hit the trail hard.

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