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<March 2012>
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colette_heimowitz's Blog
Red Meat is Not Evil



In the news last week we heard about the Harvard School of Medicine epidemiology study in which the scientists reported that daily consumption of red meat—particularly the kind you might like to grill—may significantly increase your risk of premature death. Of course, when folks hear “red meat”, they immediately make associations to the Atkins Diet,which we all know is simply Internet lore. The Atkins Diet advocates for a balanced diet consisting of a healthy mix of proteins, vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, and good fats. Atkins is not a “red meat” diet–the plan emphasizes a balanced and healthy way of eating for life. However, having said that, we simply can't come to the conclusions the media has been spinning; slight associations simply does not equate to  causality.


After 30 years of millions of Americans following Atkins, there has never been any association found to exist between cancer and the well-researched and scientifically studied medical/nutritional principles behind the Atkins philosophy.  Quite to the contrary, many of the nutritional principles and guidelines upon which the Atkins approach is based may actually work preventatively with regard to many types of cancer.


Studies to date have found no association for consumption of fresh meats, fish, cheese, and eggs.  However there have been slight trends in risk for consumption of cured and blackened meat, as well as processed meats.


Keep in mind however, that an individual can lower his/her risk of cancer when body mass index is normal.The association between the higher risk of colon cancer and high intake of meat ceases to exist when body mass index is adjusted for.


In fact, it has been consistently noted that overweight and obesity increases the risk of cancers of the breast (postmenopausal), endometrial (the lining of the uterus), colon, kidney, and esophagus. Avoiding weight gain can lower the risk of cancers of the breast (postmenopausal), endometrium, colon, kidney, and esophagus.


Unquestionably, all vegetables and low glycemic fruits supply the phytochemicals and antioxidants that are protective for all diseases, especially cancer. However, gram for gram, vegetables yield a much higher antioxidant score than fruits do, without the high sugar content (glycemic load) of most fruits.  Glycemic load is the amount of carbohydrate in a food that raises the blood glucose at a rapid rate, provoking an excessive insulin response.


Previous research has also shown that a high glycemic load presents risk factors for obesity, which is, in and of itself, another risk factor for cancer.  Several studies presented to date also identified insulin, insulin-like growth factors and high GI carbohydrates as risk factors.


The bottom line? If you are following Atkins, as it is laid out in The New Atkins for a New You, you are consuming plenty of fresh vegetables (and eventually low glycemc fruits), with equal opportunity given to poultry, fish, red meat and various other protein sources. This emphasis on whole foods (vs. packaged or overly processed foods ) is a solid prescription for good health. 

Published Monday, March 19, 2012 10:27 AM by colette_heimowitz
Filed Under: Nutrition
BOHOmama said:
Thanks, Collette. I saw that report and like you figured people would start pointing fingers at the Atkins plan. This is a great article and should help reassure a lot of people. The past week I had surgery for a ruptured bowel and told everyone at the clinic and hospital about how well Atkins has made me feel for the past two months (up until I got sick last Tuesday). I was so surprised by the great support from the hospital nutritionist about my choice of Atkins and my knowledge of what I was doing. I was put on no dietary restrictions upon being discharged. All the doctors, surgeon, nurses, etc. were impressed with my progress all along and I made sure they knew that Atkins helped me become healthier before the storm hit. I hate to think of how I would have felt without the great physical and attitude boost provided with the Atkins diet. I have had digestive tract troubles since I was 9 years old, so this new development did not surprise me but I'm sure some people will make the incorrect assumption that my new Atkins diet was the cause. If they comment, I will correct them. I am already back to the Atkins WOE but will limit my intake of seeds and nuts (possible trigger points for me). So thanks again for your article. It is important that people are educated about the balanced nutrition provided by the New Atkins.
March 19, 2012 12:12 PM EST
saradoitforme said:
i hear that all the time and its not like we eat 3 steaks aday. which would be great but who can aford that lol. peopple are constanly tellinig me how bad this deit is for my heart i simply tell them so is weighing 300 ils shuts them up
March 20, 2012 11:37 AM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
Good for you!
March 23, 2012 04:26 PM EST
xdunlapx said:
This comment isn't about the blog post but about the site, is down. The site won't load.
March 24, 2012 05:20 PM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
I will alert the team. thanks
March 25, 2012 02:42 PM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
Gary Taubes' take. "" Coverage on Taubes take; Harvard research on red meat is 'terrible science,' says science writer he adds, several clinical trials comparing the red-meat-heavy Atkins diet with others lower in meat but higher in carbohydrates have shown the... ""
April 04, 2012 10:32 AM EST
buttercup30 said:
I am a Texas girl, you can take my potatoes, pasta, rice, and bread, but you take my steak, and we will have a problem! I also tell people The Atkins program was created by a doctor, who created yours? It's kind of blunt, but it is the way I feel.
April 21, 2012 04:01 AM EST
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