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The Main Killers in Meat

Posted February 10, 2009 12:00 AM by Bone Crusher

The two main killers in meat, eggs and milk products are saturated fats and cholesterol. What many people do not realize, however, is that cholesterol is lurking in lean cuts of meat (chicken, beef, pork, turkey). Removing the fat content does not remove the cholesterol. The cholesterol is in the muscle tissue that you roast and eat. The bone marrow might actually be the best part of the animal to eat (see bone marrow as food).

Chicken and turkey have about the same amount of cholesterol as beef or pork. Whole eggs have cholesterol levels of 350mg/100g, which is 4 to 6 times higher than meat (57 to 92 mg/100g). Fortunately, removing the yolk does eliminate the cholesterol from egg products, so Egg Beaters or similar substitutes are much lower in cholesterol (reduced from 352 to 1 mg/100g) and calories (reduced 12.2 to 3.3 mg/100g or lower).

Whole milk cheddar cheese has very high fat content (105 mg/100g) with cholesterol levels equivalent to meat. Nonfat or skim milk cheddar or colby cheese has 80% of the cholesterol of whole milk cheddar cheese (21 mg/100g) and fat content reduced to 7 mg/100g or less.

The Third Killer: Mercury, PCBs and Other Contaminants

Because meat, dairy, milk, and fish products are higher up on the food chain, poisons tend to accumulate and become concentrated in these foods. Mercury, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), and other contaminants could be considered the third killer found in non-vegetarian diets. While these contaminants could occur in vegetable products, occurrence or accumulation to concentrated levels that effect health is less likely. One exception is highly-processed foods such as corn syrup, in which elevated levels of mercury have been found.

A vegan diet is the healthiest because it contains no animal products or by-products such as milk, cheese or eggs. A vegetarian diet can contain some animal products; for example, lacto-ovo vegetarians would eat milk and cheese (lacto) products and eggs (ova). Pescetarianism would apply to vegetarians that include some fish in their diets. Personally, I follow more of a lacto-ovo-pesce vegetarian diet. If I eat eggs, then I eat the cholesterol free products – most of the time. I consume some fish oil for the omega-3 content. I also try to stick to eating non-fat milk and cheese products – except when people bring in cheese and crackers for afternoon snack time. My daughter follows a strict vegan diet, but maintaining a purely vegan diet can be very difficult.

When people talk about what's for dinner, they often just state the meat (hence ad lines like, "Beef It's What's for Dinner" ) because much of our food-culture is centered upon meat-eating. In addition, food technology has found ways to turn animal by-products into many animal based food ingredients or additives, which find there way into our foods, cosmetics and drugs.

Editor's Note: This is Part 2 in a multi-part series. Part 1 ran last week, and Part 3 will run next week.

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/11/2009 9:30 AM

Not got time to go through this in detail. But because of the way our digestion works, ingested cholesterol is not the problem as such: saturated fats are disproportionately more significant. Even so, there are those who claim that eggs are good in this regard because they contain a preponderance of so-called "good cholesterol"; but IMHO it's unlikely that this would be significant - although eggs probably are good for your cholesterol because of their omega3 and other potentially beneficial content.

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/12/2009 8:42 AM

Ezetimibe (Zetia®) is one of the best cholesterol fighting drugs on the market, which seems to be so effective because the drug works by preventing cells in the small intestine and liver from absorbing LDL cholesterol.

Zetia on Medicinenet Cholesterol - Five Major Drug Classes

Cholesterol - Five Major Drug Classes

Science Daily Article on Zetia

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/12/2009 9:17 AM

I disagree with guest. It seems like about 1/2 of the cholesterol you eat is absorbed and transported to the liver. At least according to Functional Foods Fact Sheet: Plant Stanols and Sterols from the International Food Information Council :
"...The intestine absorbs cholesterol from dietary and biliary (liver) sources. In a diet containing 300 to 400 mg/day of cholesterol, approximately 200 mg is absorbed and transported to the liver. About 1,000 mg/day of cholesterol is secreted into the bile, 60 percent of which is reabsorbed and the rest is excreted.5 Cholesterol is absorbed in the intestine through "mixed micelles:" tiny spherical particles that are needed for cholesterol transport and absorption through the intestinal wall.5, 7-8 ... Plant phytosterols may help lower LDL cholesterol levels by blocking its absorption. If enough sterols/stanols are consumed in the diet, they will compete with cholesterol in the digestive tract in the formation of "mixed micelles." This ultimately results in a reduction of the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed in the body and returned to the liver. 5,7-8 "

Based on 20 studies, the FDA "gave food manufacturers permission to put labels on foods containing plant sterol esters and plant stanol esters to indicate that they may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)." (reference Health Claim for Foods That Could Lower Heart Disease Risk from the FDA). Further in the article, you read, "Plant sterol and stanol esters work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the diet. Plant sterols have been known for some time to reduce the blood cholesterol levels that are responsible for most heart attacks. Plant sterol esters can be found in soybean oil as well as in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals and other plant sources. Plant stanols occur naturally in even smaller quantities from some of the same sources. For example, both plant sterols and stanols are found in vegetable oils."

Meat does not naturally contain PLANT STEROLS OR STANOL ESTERS!

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#2

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/11/2009 10:29 AM

I agree with guest. To my knowledge the jury was out for quite a while on eggs since, while they do have LDL cholesterol but they are one of the few common sources for significant abouts of HDL cholesterol which are needed for your body to deal with the LDL.

LDL or Low Density Lipids are the big 'puffly' fatty bits that coat the inside of your arteries and cause them to be less flexible, restricting the flow of blood an increasing the chance of a blockage in small passages. If this happens in the heart or brain you've got a heart attack or stroke on your hands.

High Density Lipids, HDL, need to be present to give some balance. I'm not sure of the actual physiological interaction betweent the two but LDL levels must be accompanied by appropriate HDL levels. Cutting ALL"cholesterol" out of your diet can be bad because HDL is needed by your body to rid itself of LDL.

When your doctor calculates how 'high' your cholesterol is he/she is checking the balance of the two. Here's the first 3 results of googling "HDL vs LDL"

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=180

http://cholesterol.healthinfotips.com/cholesterol101-badgood.html

[edit] [b]A little snippet to add from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition[/b]

The assertion that eating an egg a day increases the risk of heart disease by 2% (but only in those with low ratios of LDL to HDL cholesterol and a low dietary P:S) needs to be put in perspective relative to other risk factors:

1) the 72% increase in risk associated with a body mass index (in kg/m2) of 25–28.9 relative to a body mass index < 23 (7),

2) the 42% decrease in risk associated with the replacement of 5% of energy from saturated fat with 5% from unsaturated fat (8), and

3) the 51% decrease in risk associated with 1.5 h of vigorous walking 1 d/wk (9).

frohttp://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/75/2/333

So being fat will kill you quickly...eating unsaturated fat instead of saturated will help a lot...some exersize will help even more.

[/edit]

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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/11/2009 11:32 AM

Hmm, there seems to be a mistatement in your discourse. Cattle, chickens and pigs are typically fed on alfalfa, corn and wheat in some combination for the most part. Mercury is a common toxin accumulated in sea food due to the constant exposure of their circulatory systems to the mercury in water. Bio accumulation of PCBs, is as likely to occur from eating the vegetarian diet and the fatty portions of meat, as we bio accumulate PCBs in our fat and it is really a issue of exposure (not very mobile on land). Also, plants are used specifically to remediate sites contaminated with heavy metals because they will bioaccumulate mobile heavy metals from the soil. Again this is an issue of the location where the plants are grown, meat contaminated by heavy metals is an indicator of feed sources, which would be plants, grown in a contaminated location.

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#4

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/11/2009 3:18 PM

I don't doubt that meat in large portion sizes with additives will kill me sooner than if I go vegetarian. My ancestors ate meat and they did just fine, in fact, they were better off then than I am right now. Back then, meat was used to fill yourself up and keep you going throughout the day. Nowadays, meat is a treat, a lot of heated snack foods include meat.

You point out how 'bad' these dairy products are in terms of numbers, but what you are lacking is the comparison between those numbers to other foods or in accordance with recommended daily servings (which would possibly be a fairer picture).

I personally think that this is a sort of Freudian slip. You are complaining about meat thoroughly, but I bet you just want a huge hunk of steak.

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#8
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Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/12/2009 9:53 AM

As a young Bone Crusher, I used to love sitting in the kitchen with father Bone Crusher smashing open big beef bones so we could suck the delicious marrow out. Thanksgiving time, the giblets were picked cleaned for liver and heart - really the best part of the bird. Bacon and beef liver were another favorite food when I was a boy, which used to be considered "good" for you because of the iron levels. In the summers, we used to have "fry day" where we would deep fry turkeys and roast beef stuffed with garlic. The next day we would fry shrimp and oysters for po boys. Lamb stew with grean beans and potatoes was another food I used to miss, but now I know better.

Tastey foods, but now my immediate family doesn't eat these foods, so we never cook these at home. And, I would never eat these foods when I am away from home traveling for business

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#13
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Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/17/2009 7:22 AM

im replying to your "my ancestors ate meat and did just fine" im 60 years o f age and grew up fairly poor as in not abundance or waste we always had the left over bacon fat can next to stove for cooking and the lard donuts etc. yes im on a statin but my mother her mother and her mother alllived to mid 90 s w/none of these problems lots of eggs to my grandfather ate one a day his whole life made it to 78 is it just that we have so much food now and majority is processed and we dont physically work as hard ? our ancestors ate lots of sat. fat and cholesteral why do you think the change ?

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#14
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Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/17/2009 11:18 AM

Our ancestors ate what was available to them at the time. Most lived on farms which required constant manual labor. Now there are several more food choices. If you go into the supermarket, the foods available aren't just region specific anymore. Also, a lot of food choices that people make stem from the media. People cut ridiculous foods from their diet which they are convinced will help them lose weight. If people say that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for them, they will make 'healthier' food choices and try to cut them out. There is a big change in the medias influence on peoples food choices as well as the variety of foods which are available to us. Everything used to be cooked in butter and bacon fat until imported olive oils were available. These 'healthier' substitutes are the reason for the drastic diet change.

Nowadays, a lot of jobs are centered around a desk. Seeing as money is important to live, people spend a lot of time sitting around at their jobs. People went from consistently being active to spending a majority of their time sitting. It is a big lifestyle change. Our ancestors didn't have to worry about a slowing metabolism as early on as recent adults do. This drastic change in exercise routine.

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#7

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/12/2009 9:18 AM

Hi Bone Crusher - Thanks for what you wrote:

During a trip to Finland in the 80's, I was warned, by a close Finnish friend I lived with there who had spent a year in the U.S., to be wary of American milk - the Finns were very proud of their hormone-free milk back in '86, compared to U.S. milk. European food culture is much different to what we have here. What you write here supports what she and others told me and what I've thought about for many years.

Also, I have Darwin (recent link to CR4 blog I did on him) and Lincoln on my brain today - both were born on the same date, February 12th, 1809, (both celebrating 200th birthdays today). My question comes from Darwin on my mind:

Seems like a personalized diet, based on an individual's genome, would be the optimal, science-based diet to follow. The proportions of meat to vegetable should follow from this.

Are there companies or doctors offering this service - a tailored, genome-specific diet - here in the U.S. or abroad?

Thanks for your blog piece - more food for thought. :)

- Larry

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#9

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/12/2009 2:23 PM

Fats

Meats & Vegetarianism

Anyone coming over for dinner?

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#10
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Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/13/2009 10:16 AM

Yes, let's all go out and eat more saturated fat because surely that will improve out health. What crap!

But what would you expect from an organization supported by dairy farmers?

Obviously, the authors have contracted Mad Cow Disease, which you don't get from veggie sources.

Read something produced by reputable scientists The China Study

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Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/13/2009 10:56 AM

I think that the bottom line is that human bodies were made to be able to process both meat and vegetables. Evidence in the way or organs process food and our teeth structure shows that we were meant to be omnivores. This gave us versatility when food was scarce. The problem is that there is too much food! There are too many things to choose from. The basic choices in food for a region broadened at supermarkets carried 'fresh produce' and 'healthy cuts of meat'. You don't have to be limited by location to be able to eat regional foods.

Humans were made to be omnivores. It is true that some cannot process milk, meat and other foods as well as others. It is just that people thing that with versatility in food choices, that they are allowed to pig out on whatever, whenever they want and that is simply not true if you want to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Meat will probably kill you faster than the foods in your garden, but they aren't as dangerous as people fear. Portion control is important for a healthy omnivore diet now that food is readily available.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: The Main Killers in Meat

02/13/2009 1:45 PM

@BoneCrusher:

Yeowch! Sorry to hit sore toes . . .

Perhaps this is a point to consider: A million years of species-wide evidence is worth more than 100 years of toxin-skew in the food chain --

Pax, brother

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