Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The New W.H.O. Meat & Cancer Study - Another Pile of Medical Malarkey
The new cancer warnings on Monday from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) about eating red meats and processed meats make me laugh. The latest medical pinheads want us to believe that eating a hot dog a day has the same risk as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day or being exposed to asbestos. They claim eating one hot dog a day can "increase the colon cancer risk". '
Know what the extent of increased risk is? It goes from 5% over a lifetime (for non meat eater, e,g, Vegan) to 6 percent. BIG DEAL! By the same token, the smokers increase their cancer risk by 17. 2 percent compared to 1.3 percent for non-smokers. So WHO is fooling WHO? DO these medical misfits really believe people will give up their hot dogs on that account? They must be smoking much more powerful stuff than available here in Colorado.
What exactly is the reasoning?
Well, processed meats like hot dogs and bologna have been salted, cured (with sodium nitrite) or smoked to enhance flavor and improve preservation. Medical health gurus have long worried that this processing leads to the formation of potentially carcinogenic chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in these products. (Funny how they worry so much less about the abundance of toxic chemicals in our air, soil and water from fracking, such as benzene, xylene, toluene etc. as well as atrazine from weedicides.)
The concern with red meats — beef, pork and lamb — has more to do with the cooking, not the processing. Grilling, barbecuing and pan-frying meat creates potential carcinogens, including heterocyclic aromatic amines. But again, these pale beside the toxic chemicals already inundating our environment, such as perchlorate, glyphosate, atrazine and bisphenol-A and about which there is little concern shown at all
The report finds a link between consumption of processed meats and colorectal cancer (and perhaps other cancers). But here's the zinger: it also acknowledged that the link between red meat and cancer has not been proved. According to the ancillary body, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in a handout accompanying its report.:
“Eating red meat has not yet been established as a cause of cancer,”
In other words, it's just another medical alarm story like so many before, and which people had already become accustomed to tuning out.
Let's get into the numbers again, for perspective: W.H.O. estimated that 50 grams daily of processed meat or 100 grams daily of red meat might increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent and 17 percent, in that order, over the absolute risk — if indeed red meat were related to cancer at all, which the report also acknowledged is not known.
What does that mean? It means that as noted above, the lifetime risk goes from 5% to 6% so that the increased risk "over the absolute risk" is computed:
(6% - 5%)/ 6 = 1/6 - 16.667 % ~ 17%
Again, negligible! I prefer to think of it more realistically as the risk going from 5 in 100 for those who don't eat red or processed meats, to 6 in 100 to those who do. The use of the "17 percent" increase is merely a stat intended to alarm ordinary folk and throw them off. It reminds me of the old statin research done by PhrMA which purported to show the benefit of taking statins which allegedly reduced risk of heart attacks by 33 percent.
This was first reported by FORBES in 2008 wherein outcomes from a control and statin-taking group were compared per capita for heart attacks. In the control (placebo) group there occurred 2 heart attacks per capita, and in the statin-takers there occurred 1 heart attack per 100. The results were then touted as "Statins reduce risk of heart attacks by 33%".
(2 - 1)/3 x 100% = 1/3 x 100% = 33%
But anyone can play games with numbers like that, and misdirect people's attention. Indeed, in the case of the data reviewed by the W.H.O. we now know it was drawn from population studies, and many experts question whether these risk estimates can be applied to individuals who may have other risks for colorectal cancer. (Especially from toxic chemicals which can also find their way into the foods we consume).
My primary complaint, which is shared by author Devra Davis in her excellent monograph, 'Secret History of the War on Cancer' - is the medical industrial complex is trying to scare us off common foods that most people eat while turning a blind eye to the truly malignant carcinogenic risks of pesticides, weedicides etc. But as she notes there is a method to the madness; It foists the major responsibility for cancer to the ordinary person and away from the mammoth chemical industry. It protects their profits while holding US accountable for our cancers, say if we eat a hot dog or bologna sandwich or two each day instead of lentils and arugula.
In her book, Davis accurately documents that people get told over and over (by the likes of the American Cancer Society and their physician enablers, apologists) that "too much fat" is causing their cancers - whether of lungs, bladders, prostate gland or breasts - and hence they bear greatest responsibility. ( Never mind the evidence from more than 80 years of cumulative data which discloses it's chemicals in the environment that contribute more than fifty times as much.)
But this sort of dishonest PR show is now common in the US of A.
The trouble is that most of us no longer buy into it. We have the evidence that there are far more pervasive risks to our health than eating a hot dog or bratwurst a day!
If the powers that be - whatever their source - want to really protect citizens from carcinogens, they will first attend to the REAL culprits, e.g. everything from PFOA(perflurorooctanoic acid ) -based chemicals and additives, that causes monstrous birth or sexual defects in young kids to phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates), such as bisphenol A (now banned in Canada and most of Europe ) to atrazine and acetochlor in herbicides (for a rogue list of all of the most dastardly chemicals poisoning us, see: 'The Body Toxic', by Nina Baker, 2008)
Until these medical meatheads do that I will go on eating my brats, hot dogs and salami - knowing that their increased risk of cancer, relative to what's already in the environment via toxic chemicals, is roughly analogous to the risk of getting more drunk by adding a thimble full of beer to a keg already downed.