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Cold Cuts Cause Cancer?

Cold Cuts Cause Cancer?

Adding to the nonstop flood of health risks associated with a diet heavy in meat, a recent study found that eating cold cuts dramatically increases your chances of developing bladder cancer.

The “American” diet, heavy on animal proteins and low in fruits and vegetables, has been under heavy fire for decades for health reasons, ethical reasons and environmental reasons. The criticism continues to intensify as a mountain of scientific research about the detrimental health effects of a diet heavy in meat come to light. The chemical “villains” so to speak, in these studies, were nitrites and nitrates that are added to meat to preserve color and flavor.

Nearly every day I encounter a news story about the negative effects of a meat diet, or a story about the health benefits of a vegan diet. People with a plant-based diet have a lower occurrence of nearly all the major causes of death in America, most importantly heart disease and cancer.

Nearly every time I try to talk to people about the medical risks associated with poor diet and lifestyle, especially those linked to a meat-centered diet, they say something like “well everything gives you cancer nowadays”. This is a sad and ignorant way to disregard the enormous health risks that could be easily evaded by a dietary change that could benefit, not just your own health, but could save the lives of animals and the entire environment of the planet. Anyone who has seen a loved one die of cancer knows that this is hardly a risk to be disregarded.

The study used a large sample of 300,000 men and women whom they followed over an eight year span. The results were conclusive in their finding of a “positive nonlinear association for red meat cold cuts” with cancer of the bladder.

In a interesting side note, the study also noted non-causal correlations between eating higher amounts of meat with smoking, having a higher BMI, lower intake of fruits and vegetables, and lower intake of vitamins C and E.

Beyond being the most ethical diet, it is becoming harder and harder to ignore the trend of people who are concerned about their health, who are choosing to remove animal products from their diet. Is it a coincidence that the people who ate the most meat were also most likely to be smokers and overweight?

I’ve said it before and I’ll be saying it for a long time: go vegan, for the animals, for your health, for the planet.

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Photo: thanks to Elin B via flickr

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199 comments

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10:07AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

great article

10:06AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Sarah, what's the logic behind your statement???? Are you paid by the meat industry or something???

9:29AM PST on Nov 21, 2012

"Is it a coincidence that the people who ate the most meat were also most likely to be smokers and overweight?"
Possibly. It's certainly not a co-incidence that intelligent people who think for themselves don't follow the herd - and this applies to smokers quite as much as omnivores.

6:30AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

The pink slime also has nitrates and nitrites that make it pink.

7:03AM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

Thanks for the info

8:48AM PDT on Aug 18, 2010

Sarah D- "That's not entirely true. Veganism and vegetarianism can cause just as much death and suffering as omnivorism can even if it doesn't involve killing animals for consumption."

Please enlighten us Sarah, how does veganism and vegetarianism cause just as much death and suffering as omnivorism? I would really like to know.

As for your earlier post "not all meat comes from factory farms"-really no kidding, but the vast vast majority of it does. I would tell you to use your common sense but obviously you don' t have any. Instead of covering up just one eye in your photo, it really would be more accurate to cover up both.

8:17AM PDT on Aug 16, 2010

"The more vegans/vegetarians there are, the fewer animals are killed."

That's not entirely true. Veganism and vegetarianism can cause just as much death and suffering as omnivorism can even if it doesn't involve killing animals for consumption.

8:12AM PDT on Aug 16, 2010

"what these factory farms are pumping into animals is causing health issues..common sense people !"

Not all meat comes from factory farms. Use a little of that so-called "common sense" of yours and do a little research.

3:36AM PDT on Aug 14, 2010

well, everything gives you cancer nowadays

11:03PM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

It's odd that the category of "Animal Welfare" uses a picture of cats, but few of these articles are about actual animal welfare. I know that the argument that "eating animals affects their welfare" is about to be hurled at me, but a study on cancer and cold cuts? Seriously? There's a better place for this subject. "Real Food" comes to mind.

If you're want to talk about actual animals, I'm ready to hear it. Otherwise, stop wasting my time.

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