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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

ALL READERS COMMENTS

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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.

Bob Palin
Apr 30, 2009

In what possible way is recommending eating less meat "leftist"? Food preferences are not a political statement. As for the article itself - what does that have to do with backpacking? Leave it out.

ES
Apr 30, 2009

The question was how do we take meat on a backpacking trip. Why are there so many comments on the validity of the article? WHO CARES?! Just contribute something usefull and possitive!

iorr61
Apr 30, 2009

"Vegetarians poop pellets like antelpes (sic), meateaters poop logs."

Hmmm... I'd like it if I only dropped pellets, but since I like my meat, I guess I'm stuck w/ logs.

Flatlander
Apr 30, 2009

Wow! Guess you struck a nerve.

Scabobian
Apr 30, 2009

DON'T FORGET, ALL OF GOD'S CREATURES HAVE THEIR PLACE...

RIGHT NEXT TO THE MASHED POTATOES AND GRAVY !!!

Scabobian
Apr 30, 2009

I agree, especially with "processed meats" ! As an alternative, try Buffalo and Ostrich. You can buy Buffalo at Trader Joe's regularly. Whole Foods has both, although more expensive. They both have less fat, more protein, and less cholesterol! You can use it in all the same ways that you would use beef.

ff11
Apr 30, 2009

"I could suck on pure butter the whole way and be fine, I am OUT!"

Jim Fixx, is that you?

ff11
Apr 30, 2009

"I could suck on pure butter the whole way and be fine, I am OUT!"

Jim Fixx, is that you?

Hoppes
Apr 30, 2009

Agree with Meathead, wild game is the answer. Whitetail deer and moose have far less fat than the farm raised beef we find in most grocery stores. I'll take the hard earned lean game meat anyday. Hmmmmm.... most of my family has lived well into their 80's and 90's. Wonder if wild game consumption had anything to do with their longevity in years? Don't buy the PC rantings....

Hoppes
Apr 30, 2009

Agree with Meathead, wild game is the answer. Whitetail deer and moose have far less fat than the farm raised beef we find in most grocery stores. I'll take the hard earned lean game meat anyday. Hmmmmm.... most of my family has lived well into their 80's and 90's. Wonder if wild game consumption had anything to do with their longevity in years? Don't buy the PC rantings....

Hoppes
Apr 30, 2009

Agree with Meathead, wild game is the answer. Whitetail deer and moose have far less fat than the farm raised beef we find in most grocery stores. I'll take the hard earned lean game meat anyday. Hmmmmm.... most of my family has lived well into their 80's and 90's. Wonder if wild game consumption had anything to do with their longevity in years? Don't buy the PC rantings....

Mr. T,
Apr 30, 2009

I hate to break the news but we are all going to die. Live it up - eat steak, hot dogs, what ever you like.

bwr
Apr 30, 2009

The other huge flaw in this study was combining red meat and processed meat. Two hugely different things. This study has been trounced mightily on many medical blogs as an example of a bad study. :)

Go ahead, eat steak, with a side of pork.

just the facts
Apr 30, 2009

bluntly, no one cares what you think, unless you can cite peer reviewed studies it doesn't mean anything. One of my college professers once said write about what is real, not what you think, no one cares what your opinion is except for your parents and they only care part of the time.

Rob
Apr 30, 2009

I cant live with out a good steak! anything in excess is bad! and as others have said, how bad is it? a year? if so Who Cares??? And I am thinking that Hiking in 5 miles or more to your camp site carrying everthing on your back negates the "bad" of the steak you may toss on the fire that night!
First night in: Frozen ribeye in a big ziplock freezer bag, and in a lunch bag sized soft cooler. Defrosted in time for dinner, and use the ziplock as the garbage bag to carry-out.

Meathead
Apr 30, 2009

I belong to PETA, People for Eating Tasty Animals. Cows are no exception, pigs are heaven, buffulo is exquisite, venison perfection, elk is the top o the heap. Nothing says livin' life like a big hunk o steaming hot meat. Vegetarians poop pellets like antelpes, meateaters poop logs.

skip shephard
Apr 30, 2009

I love your online magazine. Regarding the red meat article. I think too many so called experts raise the red flag too soon. Any studies done to find out how ofter we Americans eat meat(anykind)? Personally, I have lowered my meat consumption quite a bit. Mostly, because at 64 I can't eat as much, nor do I want to eat meat a lot.

RW
Apr 30, 2009

NO MORE up dates for me, I can not take the Eco BS party line anymore. I am done with backpacker. Red meat can kill you? one a 4 Day 45+ Lbs pack trip think it matters what I eat? I could suck on pure butter the whole way and be fine, I am OUT!

RW
Apr 30, 2009

NO MORE up dates for me, I can not take the Eco BS party line anymore. I am done with backpacker. Red meat can kill you? one a 4 Day 45+ Lbs pack trip think it matters what I eat? I could suck on pure butter the whole way and be fine, I am OUT!

Ray Rippel
Apr 30, 2009

Isn't there anyplace I can go without leftist intrusion into my life. This article is far more politics than science. We're badkpackers! Aren't we supposed to be independent? The country the current mass media and government envision we will be living exactly as they think we should - and no other way. My grandmother, who could occasionally be vulgar, often said: people need to mind their own g**dam*ed business. How true.

captain obvious
Apr 30, 2009

right on! i only eat rocks and dirt as they seem to be the only things that haven't been "proven" harmful.

Jen
Apr 30, 2009

I am with Dillon on this. Reports like this are very misleading and ignore data showing grass-fed, grass-finished beef, bison and other animals (such as poultry and fish) raised eating the foods they should are also much lower in cholesterol. Americans may also be consuming more meat, but its what their meat is eating that isn't healthy.

The Truth
Apr 30, 2009

P.S. This article has just relieved you of one more email subscriber.

The Truth
Apr 30, 2009

Good grief...another scare story. Red meat will no more kill you than Kleenex with aloe. The inability for people to adequately control their insulin levels does far greater damage than a steak. The amounts of sugars and carbohydrates throw the average persons blood sugar so high that a huge spike in their insulin level is the result, and this leads to significant plaquing.

Quoting the NYTimes is probably more dangerous than red meat.

Brian B.
Apr 30, 2009

1) Red meat does not necessarily include processed meat, so I have no idea why the two were combined for the purpose of scientific research. They clouded their results by lumping the two together, and it's pretty unscientific in process.

2) Their claim that "livestock" production consists of 50% of antibiotic use. They attribute this usage to red meat, but this is a pretty glaring fallacy. Anti-biotics are more widely used in the raising of chickens rather than pigs or cattle, yet they suggest consuming more poultry.

3) Their test group consisted of people aged 50-70 and roughly 20% of whom died within a decade. Given the age range, and no family histories included in their summation, that is statistically expected of that group. Even the gender spread of those who died matches the averages. Furthermore, they even conceded that the effects of proportionally high meat consumption was "modest" (which means little-to-no effect if you are unfamiliar with interpretation). Yet somehow they still attempt to attribute to red meat.

4) There is an obvious bias to the study, and it has nothing to do with the health concerns related to red meat. The doctor who conducted the study claims that reducing the consumption of red meat would eliminate global warming and environmental pollution. That was his concern, and he probably could have as easily attributed his results (the statistical norms) to any list of "habits" he wanted ranging from history of exercise, history of cancer or heart disease, exposure to smoking, or even the taking of supplements.

MARK
Apr 30, 2009

FIRST NIGHT OUT IS ALWAYS STEAK NIGHT, FREEZE THEM AND WRAP THEM IN A TOWEL. WE GET A FIRE GOING AND HAVE STEAK ON A STICK. POTATOES WRAPPED IN FOIL, AND SOME SIPS OF WHISKY.

critique
Apr 30, 2009

Editor, are there any numbers on this? What I mean is, I dislike vauge statements like "...doctors think over one million lives could be extended..." and [from NYT] " Meat consumption has more than doubled in the United States in the last 50 years"
Well, so has the population, so sounds reasonable to me!
All of the numbers that were provided don't mean squat without one key number: Shortened by how much? How premature?
Did they 'expire' a year before their time? a month? 10 years? 20?

I'm sure just plain numbers is enough to scare most folks but honestly, if it only costs me a year off the end of my life, who cares ;-)

Typically that last year is not a really enjoyable one anyway. I'd hate to lose out on the glorious tase of a rare filet melting in my mouth whenever the urge pulls me in only to die in a car crash 10 years before carcinogens would have taken me.
See if you can find those numbers and update the article. It would have a much larger impact than 'vague statistics without qualtifying the repurcussions'.
Thanks!

Dillon
Apr 30, 2009

Studies like this are incredibly misleading, especially when every new agency and magazine (yes i'm looking at you Backpacker) picks it up and fails to analyze its results properly. This study has soooo many confounding factors - the biggest being that there is already a perception of red meat being unhealthy, so conscientious people who try and live healthy lives (eg exercise, dont drink excessively, dont smoke, eat veggies...) probably have already cut back their intake of red meat b/c of this perception. People who havent cut back are likely less concerned with these things, and are generally less healthy. The perception of red meat being unhealthy becomes a self-fulfilling belief in observational studies like this: people believe its not healthy, so healthy people avoid it, which makes it appear unhealthy in subsequent studies.

EzE
Apr 30, 2009

Variety and moderation is the key. The gist of a recent study on over 500 adults over the age of 90, 150 of which were past the century mark, showed that a common theme throughout their lives was that they weren't picky eaters, they ate smaller then average portions, and many even smoked and drank in moderation. Too much of anything, meat or otherwise is not good for you. Even too many carrots can tint your skin orange.

pesco pollo
Apr 29, 2009

I went vegetarian for a year as a teenager but switched to chicken and fish. Red meat is pretty tasty (bison is good) but I think most Americans eat to much of it.

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