Tuesday, April 19


A pair of stories appearing today illustrate the opposition of plant and animal foods in terms of human health. The New York Times has a "Really?" feature, which examines claims for accuracy and debunks where necessary. But for this week's claim, "Grilled Meat Causes Cancer," the "Bottom Line" was "Chemicals in grilled meat have been shown to increase the risk of cancer." And further: "For years, studies have suggested that chemicals in grilled meat may be linked to cancer. Now, just in time for barbecue season, the Department of Health and Human Services has added heterocyclic amines - the compounds formed in red meat, poultry and fish during the grilling - to its list of carcinogens. At least one other group of chemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can also collect on meat cooked over hot coals, has been on the agency's list since 1981."

"But there is a silver lining," the Times reports cheerily. "The chemicals are primarily found in meat cooked at high temperatures..." Oh, OK, only high temperatures like those needed to kill E.Coli. So this year we're not going to hear the traditional "cook all your meat at a high temperature" in those pre-summer health stories on how to avoid deadly food poisoning? We'll wait and see on that.

Meanwhile, on the same day, we learn that broccoli and red chili peppers help prevent cancer, according to new studies. Now, note which kind of food is a cancer cause, and which is a cancer fighter. Notice how they always seem to line up in those same columns?

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