Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Good with the Bad

Meat, including red meat, or bacon, or lard, seems now to play no role in creating heart disease. It may in fact mitigate against it, in that it promotes good cholesterol and inhibits bad. Meanwhile, carbs, refined carbs appear to be the single major factor in creating heart disease, diabetes, obesity -- Syndrome X. Sounds like bad news for vegetarians, eh?

Indeed it is. Bad news for some vegetarians. The muffin vegetarians. The unthoughtful ones. The PETA freaks. The fanatics. But not for those vegetarians who are about health. Because we don’t use refined carbs. I have always known not to do that, and I was born in the fifties. So, it’s not that meat is good and veggies are bad. It’s that meat, with its mitigating role in disease, should be irrelevant, since those diseases shouldn’t be a problem, and wouldn’t be, given a sensible, plant-based diet.

Of course there are problems with an imbalanced and foolish carb diet. Huge problems, of plague proportions. But if those problems were solved, as they easily could be, by using unprocessed plant nutrients, then what would the major problem with its major diseases be? Meat, and its putrefaction and its autoimmune diseases.

Sometimes I think it's important to blaze up my failing laptop and set these things down for posterity. For you. Because you matter. At least as much as your appetites and addictions. Probably more, to the people who love you. So?



Will C. said...


Jack H said...

Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories, pp. 168-169.

"The observation that monounsaturated fats both lower LDL chol and raise HDL also came with an ironic twist: the principal fat in red meat, eggs, and bacon is not saturated fat, but the very same monounsaturated fat as in olive oil. The implications are almost impossible to believe after three decades of public-health recommendations suggesting that any red meat consumed should at least be lean, with any excess fat removed.

"Consider a porterhouse steak with a quarter-inch layer of fat. After broiling, this steak will reduce to almost equal parts fat and protein. Fifty-one percent of the fat is monounsaturated, of which 90 percent is oleic acid. Saturated fat constitutes 45 percent of the total fat, but a third of that is stearic acid, which will increase HDL chol while having no effect on LDL. (Stearic acid is metabolized in the body to oleic acid....) The remaining 4 percent of the fat is polyunsaturated, which lowers LDL chol but has no meaningful effect on HDL. In sum, perhaps as much as 70 percent of the fat content of a porterhouse steak will improve the relative levels of LDL and HDL chol, compared with what they would be if carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, or pasta were consumed. The remaining 30 percent will raise LDL chol but will also raise HDL chol and will have an insignificant effect, if any, on the ratio of total chol to HDL. All of this suggests that eating a ph steak in lieu of bread or potatoes would actually reduce heart-disease risk, although virtually no nutritional authority will say so publicly. The same is true for lard and bacon."


As I say, the lesson is not that meat is good, but that refined carbs are bad. Didn't we already know that? From a heart disease perspective, meat is the lesser evil. And it's not the meat anyway, but the fat.

Still and all, I remain a contrarian, even to my own beliefs.