On Halloween day, I had the honor of speaking with Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation on new research surrounding red and processed meats. You may have seen the headlines popping up on social media; Say Goodbye to Bacon or Red & Processed Meat Cause Cancer. On Oct 26th, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), published a study evaluating the carcinogenicity these meats. These findings have been at the heart of a great debate among doctors, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals, divided on the issue. I spoke with Sally Fallon Morell to get her stance on the issue.
We have all been talking about the World Health Organization releasing the IRCA’s findings that red and processed meats are carcinogenic. What did you think of these findings?
It’s part of a larger agenda to keep people from eating meat – red meat, which is a very healthy food. It’s based on a lot of misinformation. In the first place, studies have shown that processed meats are associated with colon cancer. Fresh meat is not associated with colon cancer. And what we do know, is that if you’re eating food that has carcinogens in it, like processed meats, a lot of them does have it in it. If you’re also eating polyunsaturated oils, those make you very prone to colon cancer, but if you’re eating saturated fats (like butter, meat fat, lard, coconut oil, etc.), it mitigates the carcinogens.
The WHO’s release didn’t address the quality of meat and also didn’t differentiate between factory farmed and pasture-raised. What would you say to consumers, our readers, going to the grocery store, wanting to choose meat for dinner? What should they be purchasing?
The one I’d really be careful of is pork. Because pork in the US is given a drug called Ractopamine, which makes the pork lean. That drug is banned in Europe. So you really have to be careful that you are buying organic, pastured-raised pork. Really, the best meats in the supermarket are the red meats-steak, pot roast, lamb chops-those are all great choices.
A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon about processed meats, mostly talking about bacon, hot dogs, but the preservation of meat, jerky, and sausages that are artisanally-made have been a part of traditional cultures for ages. Are preserved, smoked, and processed meats healthy to eat?
The Roman armies lived on prosciutto. That’s what they had. That’s how people preserved meat in the past. In the context of a traditional diet, it definitely is healthy, especially if you are getting a lot of lacto-fermented foods and staying off the processed fats and oils. Because we have we had smoked meat for how long? Forever.
People are condemning red meat all over the Internet, but there are a lot of processed meats that are not red meat. Turkey, for instance, is very popular because people are under the false assumption that if it isn’t red meat, it’s healthy. What do you say to them about eating turkey and other lunchmeats?
Actually, there are more polyunsaturated fats in turkey and chicken, so those options would definitely be less healthy. There is so much garbage in lunchmeats and products like that, especially if it is low-fat food. They have all kinds of fillers and starches and fibers and things they put in to try and mimic the fats.
Since the WHO came out with their findings, people are afraid they can’t have their salami, bacon, T-bone steak, or their pot roast, and it’s causing a big scare. What do you think the takeaway for consumers should be?
By and large these are healthy foods. The more natural, more traditional, more pastured-raised these meats are, the better. This should not be a call for people to give up these healthy foods, but instead to seek out the highest quality.
How can people get more involved with the Weston A. Price Foundation?
The Weston A. Price’s 16th Annual conference will be held November 13, 16 2015. Readers can learn more about the foundation and conference at: http://conferences.westonaprice.org/main-conference/
About the Weston A. Price Foundation
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.
Razi Ann Berry is the Host and Publisher of the award-winning journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, The International Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, and the website for patients, NaturalPath .
Her personal journey from illness to health was the catalyst to a career in the field of naturopathic medicine. She has spent the last decade educating people to live healthier more purposeful lives through her publications by bringing together the leaders in natural and preventive medicine and empowering millions of people to embrace the philosophy “Prevention is the Best Cure.”
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
Paperback– April 8, 2003
This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Sally Fallon dispels the myths of the current low-fat fad in this practical, entertaining guide to a can-do diet that is both nutritious and delicious.
Nourishing Traditions will tell you:
- Why your body needs old fashioned animal fats
- Why butter is a health food
- How high-cholesterol diets promote good health
- How saturated fats protect the heart
- How rich sauces help you digest and assimilate your food
- Why grains and legumes need special preparation to provide optimum benefits
- About enzyme-enhanced food and beverages that can provide increased energy and vitality
- Why high-fiber, lowfat diets can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Topics include the health benefits of traditional fats and oils (including butter and coconut oil); dangers of vegetarianism; problems with modern soy foods; health benefits of sauces and gravies; proper preparation of whole grain products; pros and cons of milk consumption; easy-to-prepare enzyme enriched condiments and beverages; and appropriate diets for babies and children.