Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous For Human Consumption

Processed meats have been declared too dangerous for human consumption by pseudo-experts who are unable to differentiate between observational studies and clinical trials, thus posing tremendous risks to the collective IQ of the interwebz reading public [1].

The World Cancer Research Fund recently completed a detailed review of 7,000 studies covering links between diet and cancer. A grand total of 11 of these were actual clinical trials that tested two different dietary approaches or supplementation on cancer outcomes. Two of these 11 trials tested a dietary intervention, both using a low-fat diet versus a usual diet control. Researchers found that, “The low fat dietary pattern intervention did not reduce the risk of invasive colorectal cancer in any of its subsites” [2]. In other words, avoiding fat in foods like bacon, sausage, pork chops, and pepperoni will not reduce your risk of colon cancer; however, it may reduce your enjoyment of life considerably, and that, in itself, is a pain in the butt.

Upon conclusion, it is evident that reading research summaries written by people who don’t know the difference between an observational study and a clinical trial is dangerous for human intellect and the acquisition of accurate information. Consumers should stop reading processed articles full of information pollution and should instead watch re-runs of Gilligan’s Island. 

What are processed meats?
Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and nearly all meat found in prepared frozen meals. Processed meats are usually manufactured with an ingredient known as sodium nitrate, which is often linked to cancer by pseudo-experts who don’t know how to look up stuff in PubMed. Sodium nitrate is primarily used as a colour fixer by meat companies to make the packaged meats look bright red and fresh. Monosodium glutamate is also added on a regular basis to enhance the savoury flavour. An extra letter “u” added to words can also enhance colour and savoury flavour.

Sodium Nitrate has been strongly linked to the formation of cancer-causing nitrasamines [sic] in the human body, leading to a sharp increase in the risk of cancer for those consuming them. This is especially frightening, since as far as actual science goes, there is no such thing as a nitrasamine. Scientists are very concerned, however, about nitrosamines, which do, in fact, actually exist. Their concern reflects a growing body of evidence that people writing about nutrition on the internet actually have no idea about which they are ostensibly talking:

“There has been widespread discussion about health risks related to the amount of nitrate in our diet. When dietary nitrate enters saliva it is rapidly reduced to nitrite in the mouth by mechanisms discussed above. Saliva containing large amounts of nitrite is acidified in the normal stomach to enhance generation of N-nitrosamines, which are powerful carcinogens in the experimental setting. More recently, it has been suggested that nitric oxide in the stomach could also be carcinogenic. A great number of studies have been performed examining the relationship between nitrate intake and gastric cancer in humans and animals. In general it has been found that there is either no relationship or an inverse relationship, such that a high nitrate intake is associated with a lower rate of cancer. Recently, studies have been performed suggesting that not only is nitrate harmless but in fact it may even be beneficial. Indeed, acidified nitrite may be an important part of gastric host defense against swallowed pathogens. The results presented here further support the interpretation that dietary nitrate is gastroprotective. They also suggest that the oral microflora, instead of being potentially harmful, is living in a true symbiotic relationship with its host. The host provides nitrate, which is an important nutrient for many anaerobic bacteria. In return, the bacteria help the host by generating the substrate (nitrite) necessary for generation of nitric oxide in the stomach” [3].

A 2005 Hawaii University study found that reading articles about processed meats written by ninnies who can’t spell “nitrosamine” increased the risk of a 5-point IQ reduction by 67%, whilst another study found that it increased the risk of twerking by 50%. These are scary numbers for those consuming articles about processed meats on a regular basis.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a second dangerous-sounding chemical found in virtually all processed meat products. MSG is thought by people who are unable to navigate PubMed to be a dangerous excitotoxin linked to neurological disorders such as migraine headaches, Alzheimer’s disease, loss of appetite control, obesity and unrestrained blogging. Nutrition bloggers use MSG to add a deceptively scientifical-sounding level of paranoia to their articles about the addictive savory flavor of dead-tasting processed meat products. This will deflect unwary readers’ attention away from inane and poorly-worded concepts such as “addictive savory flavor of dead-tasting processed meat products.” On the other hand, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, the Scientific Committee for Food of the European Commission, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and the Food and Drug Administration all concluded that, although there may be a subpopulation of people sensitive to its effects, no health risk have been found to be associated with MSG [4]. But what do they know?

Food items to check carefully for aliveness before piling them into your cart:

  • Beef jerky
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Pepperoni
  • Hot dogs
  • Sandwich meat
  • Deli slices
  • Ham

…and many more meat products

If it’s so dangerous to consume such stupidity, why are they allowed to write it?

Unfortunately nowadays, access to operational brain cells is not a prerequisite for access to a keyboard and a WordPress account. That and First Amendment concerns have allowed unsuspecting readers curious about the real health effects of some food components to be misled, confused, and frightened by the insidious repetition of poorly-researched half-truths written by bloggers with a frail grasp on reality and an affinity for really big words that they don’t quite know the meaning of, like nitrso , um, nitarsa, um, nirstirammidngieaygyieg.

Unfortunately, these bloggers seem to hold tremendous influence over the blogosphere, and as a result consumers have little protection from dangerous propaganda intentionally added to internet, even in places that aren’t Reddit.

To avoid the dangers of idiot bloggers writing about processed meats:

  • Always read primary sources for yourself. If there are no primary sources, leave a pleasantly snarky comment to that effect on the blog site and never go there again.
  • Don’t read any articles about sodium nitrate or MSG from bloggers who don’t know how to spell “nitrosamine.”
  • Avoid eating red meats served by restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels or other institutions without asking for it to be served thick and juicy, just the way you like it. This will give you the courage and moral fortitude to look up stuff yourself on PubMed, without having to rely on bloggers who don’t know how to spell “nitrosamine.”
  • If you are fixated on fresh something, be fixated on Fresh Prince.
  • Avoid processed blog material as much as possible
  • Spread the word and tell others about the dangers of reading idiot blogs about the dangers of sodium nitrate and MSG

Vitamin C naturally found in lime juice that has been gently squeezed into a tumbler of tequila has been shown to help prevent the formation of permanent facepalms after accidently ingesting an idiot nutrition blog and can help protect you from the devastating IQ-lowering effects of blobbers who cant spll. The best defense of course is to avoid the interwebz all together and go dancewalking.


Sources:

  1. http://hollyleehealth.com/2013/04/02/processed-meats-declared-too-dangerous-for-human-consumption/
  2. http://www.wcrf.org/PDFs/Colorectal-cancer-CUP-report-2010.pdf
  3. http://www.jci.org/articles/view/19019
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56 comments on “Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous For Human Consumption

  1. PJ says:

    Humorous. :-) Thanks.

    > and the Food and Drug Administration all concluded that,

    I don’t consider the FDA or USDA or AMA or (insert other government agency with opinions about nutrition) to be legitimate sources of information about my food intake… you probably could have left that last one out and had a stronger case.

    > (MSG) although there may be a subpopulation of people sensitive to its effects, no health risk have been found

    Just want to point something out here.

    1. People with existing metabolic dysregulation are very likely to be a subset OF that “subpopulation.”

    2. Obesity does not appear to occur without a degree of metabolic dysregulation, albeit at small degrees it’s easier and/or possible to correct.

    3. So it might be fair to say that people such as “the obese” as well as others “sensitive for some other reason” are the subpopulation of people sensitive to its effects.

    4. The obese are in fact the majority of our culture at this point. Not counting whomever else adds to that msg-sensitive-subpopulation.

    5. So in fact, one can dismiss a chemical which helps sell corporate and retail processed food as “harmless” because not everyone but only “some” people are affected poorly by it, as long as you ignore the vagaries of “some” or “subpopulation” which may, in fact, be the majority of people exposed to it.

    I love me some chinese food. But your logic on that one kinda stopped way too soon.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      I’m afraid I can’t say that any logic really factored into this post. It was more of an exercise in absurdity, in response to the absurdity of the post that I am mocking (the original is here). In this post, I am much more interested in the rhetoric of fear (well, that and making fun of people who blog about stuff that they can’t even spell) than science, although what the science has to say about MSG is interesting. Certainly we don’t have an “answer” about MSG yet.

      For MSG, like many other foods and food components, it’s a problem if you think it is a problem. This is not to belittle anyone’s perceived food sensitivities or issues; the problem of figuring out which ones are “real” and which ones are “all in your mind” is one of post-Enlightenment dualistic thinking as much as it is one of material, physiological response.

      However, I have to take issue with the notion that MSG has been dismissed as harmless in order to “help sell corporate and retail processed food.” I think it is just as easy to argue the opposite: You can find labels on all kinds of foods (and in retail spaces) advertising the fact that the foods are MSG-free. Wait, now absence of MSG is being used to help sell corporate and retail processed foods!

      This tells us a couple of things. 1) MSG has not been dismissed as harmless. The ability to promote a product based on the absence of something usually indicates that the absence is beneficial & the presence is harmful. 2) The absence of something in food is at least as potent a marketing tool as the presence of something (which would have to be detected post-purchase, I am assuming by enhanced deliciousness provided by MSG?). Being able to sell a food based on a label claim (no MSG) that promises to prevent something bad (your precious self will not be harmed by dangerous monos, sodiums, or glutamates) is a much more powerful approach than absence of such a claim, where a food would have to market itself based on something else like, oh I don’t know, maybe it’s potential yumminess.

      In general I take issue with the implication that there is some sort of corporate/retail conspiracy to sell us “harmful” food. I’m not saying that corporations always act in the best interests of consumers; industry tends to act in its own best interests. However, generally the products that industry sells are geared toward making consumers happy because happy consumers consume. On the other hand, industry practices–which get little attention as we devote our energies to what is in/not in our food–can make laborers, environment, economy, etc, quite sick. If you want to argue that food corporations have fooled all of us, tricked us, addicted us, coerced us into become mindless zombie consumers, I would take issue with the denial of the sense of agency that we all mostly feel like we have when we make purchasing decisions. After all, I know I’m not a mindless zombie consumer–I would bet that you are not one either. So what makes us so special? Nothing at all.

  2. rdfeinman says:

    I meant USDA guidelines. Surely we can make a case for their obvious failure.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      I don’t know. I’ve been trying for quite a bit now to do that, but when I talk to folks in the middle of “mainstream” nutrition, I get all sorts of ridiculous responses. I showed my favorite graph of the increase in rates of obesity as they are temporally related to the DGs and I was told, regarding that inflection point: “It could have been caused by anything. It could have a new flavor of Doritos.” This was from a well-regarded professor, head of graduate studies in our department.

      • rdfeinman says:

        the argument against the DG is that they are a contradiction in terms: they are doctors (or sorts) recommending things for people who are normal. Fixing what ain’t broke while there is a lot broke. To be fair to them, they are put in an odd position. It is not set up so that they serve the American People or even the USDA but rather the previous guidelines. They are really supposed to criticize the committee itself. The really defend the guidelines. And then there is Foster who can be attacked very strongly.

      • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

        That pretty much sums it up. But at this point, millions of dollars have been poured into a great big hammer (our public health nutrition recommendations) and there seems nothing else to do but turn everything into a nail.

  3. rdfeinman says:

    Off topic but now that the dietitians have formed AND, it seems time for you to form OR (only reasonableness?). Such a group will have as its first goal, stopping the ADA. I made a logo for you on Facebook someplace.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      It is possible for the folks at Harvard to mine any more irrelevance from these two datasets? I’m talking about the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses Health Study. Sigh.

      The dataset population is 97% white (so if you are not 97% white, go ahead and order a hot dog), born between 1911 and 1964 (i.e., if you are not old as dirt, get yourself a burger), and composed entirely of health professionals (if you are not one of those, thank your GPA and get a steak). If you don’t happen to think that relevant dietary information can be obtained from Food Frequency Questionnaires that are approximately the same length as the book version of Les Miserables (or the movie version during the parts where Russell Crowe sings) and which ask people to remember things like how many servings of peas they had during the past year, well, then help yourself to some kielbasa.

      You can’t turn chicken shit into chicken salad, and if you could, how would you ever be able to tell the difference between the effects of the chicken vs. the effects of the mayo? Which is exactly what these types of studies are attempting to do. Is it the hot dog that kills you, or the bun? This kind of study isn’t going to be able to tell you. It should be noted that with regard to experimental evidence, no clinical trial testing a hypothesis generated by one of these Harvard studies relating a food component to a chronic disease has ever shown that the hypothesis is in fact valid. Zero. So, you understand why I’m moving to a program with a more rigorous methodology. That’s right, I’m switching from Nutrition Epidemiology to a PhD in Random Speculation, with a focus in Wild Guessing.

      Thanks for the link!

  4. Gingerzingi says:

    An article you might find interesting about scientific reductionism in nutrition science:

    http://healthateverysizeblog.org/2013/06/04/the-haes-files-just-add-connection-recipes-for-knowledge-creation-in-nutrition/

    Not necessarily related to this post about processed meats, just generally interesting.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Wow. Thanks so much for this lead. I am just now finding out about the wonderful stuff going on in the HAES community, but these two women seem to have nailed many of the issues we are facing throughout the nutrition world right on the head. This is awesome. Thanks!

      • Gingerzingi says:

        There is SO MUCH good stuff on the HAES blog – it’s much more encompassing than just size acceptance, although they’re awfully good at that as well. This article about scientific reductionism reminded me so much of what you’ve written, and has further articulated something I’m not educated enough to clarify myself, but has been swirling around in my brain for years – that there are so many varied factors intertwined, affecting, and resulting from every aspect of our lifestyles, that it truly becomes absurd to reduce food to just a mere list of macronutrients and deem this one “good” and that one “bad.” Such as their description of soybeans.

        Context is everything.

      • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

        “Everything in context” makes a lot more sense than “everything in moderation”–of course, that’s not a difficult statement to make, since “everything in moderation” makes no sense at all.

  5. Rachel says:

    I just found you, and I’m in love. The stuff you say in the comments is just as great as your posts! Looking forward to learning more from a source that doesn’t make me wring my hands with anxiety over every friggin food on the planet. National Eating Disorder indeed.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Welcome! Sometimes I feel like I am stuck at the collective national dinner table with the world’s pickiest 4-year-old and no grown-up around to say “if you can’t quit whining, you can go to your room.” Take a bite. If you don’t want to eat any more, don’t. Simple as that. But the rest of us are trying to have a grown-up conversation about things that matter–like Ryan Gosling–so: Please. Shut. Up.

      Yes, our food system needs reform: transparency, enforced food safety standards, some monopoly-busting, and a bunch of other stuff. No, we don’t really know what we’re talking about most of the time when we tell people what foods are “good” and which ones are “bad.” But–after all–it is just food. We all do the best we can. Of course, we seemed to be doing a lot better BEFORE nutrition “experts” started telling everyone what to eat and what not to eat. Hmmm. Maybe it’s the experts that need to be sent to their room.

  6. wendyrg says:

    Did you hear about the experiment done in New York City where they took a bunch of people, divided them into two groups and fed them Chinese food for lunch? One group ate food with MSG, the other without. I can’t remember what they told each group, but the self-identifed MSG-sensitive people felt terrible after eating what they believed was MSG-laced food–though many were put in the no-MSG group.

    Do food sensitivities exist? Maybe. Certainly food allergies exist. I wouldn’t intentionally feed something cooked in peanut oil to someone who was allergic to peanuts. I believe that would be called murder (or attempted murder). But I am convinced that there are many people who have so convinced themselves that they are carb/gluten/MSG/whatever sensitive that the mere suggestion that carbs/gluten/MSG/whatever is in the food they’ve just eaten will send them into a major health crisis.

    That’s why I just can’t jump on any particular food or anti-food bandwagon. There’s a lot of the nocebo effect going around.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Excellent points. Yes, we do see that people with self-identified MSG issues react to MSG. Are they just being self-aware or is there a psychosomatic effect? We don’t really know. And certainly, even a placebo effect is a “real” effect–just one where we don’t know the mechanism. I think it is time we embrace that subjectivity rather than trying to banish it. If you think a food makes you feel bad or makes you ill, don’t eat it. There’s a lot of food out there to choose from! But when people get to the point where they have convinced themselves they can’t eat most foods, the problem is no longer about food. True food allergies aside, being healthy is–to a large extent–about being able to adapt to many different situations and environments with relative ease. Freaking out about your food all the time deprives you of that flexibility.

  7. chefman316 says:

    Great article…I am an R&D Chef it it is unbelievable how many people have opinions based on no facts whatsoever!

  8. Tim Swart says:

    Now if they could only stop putting SOY in everything! LOL!! Great post Adele! Long live tequila and lime!

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Thanks! Maybe if we put a “u” in souy it would be more savoury?

      But I’m with you, I don’t want anything (even something with extra “u”) to get in between me and the addictive savoury flavor of my dead-tasting processed meat products. Especially my dead-tasting bacon.

      Hey, I don’t know about you, but I have to drink tequila. It’s the only way I can tolerate the lime.

  9. brandy says:

    Don’t you think the glutamate warnings started because of the people that don’t process it correctly? My son has a genetic problem and he doesn’t convert glutamate into gaba very well and has seizures because of it and MCS. That genetic issue also causes migraines in some people. If he has something high in glutamate, natural home made food or one with MSG, his nervous system gets overstimulated and he may have a seizure. I think MSG is bad for people that have any neuro inflammation problems, such as ADHD, seizures, migraines, autism, etc. because many of them have this glutamate/Gaba issue.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      I think you may be right about where the concerns may have originated–although it is hard to say with the kind of language the original version of this was using. The general tone seemed to be “meat offends us” rather than, “we have some concern for people who may be sensitive to MSG.”

      With regard to most food components, I think it is wise to keep in mind there are likely to be a spectrum of responses. One person may have no reaction to glutamates; another person–like your son–may have a significantly adverse one. My guess is that you could find individuals at just about any interval between those two points, This is one of the problems with how we study food and nutrition. We look at group averages. But comparisons made around a group “norm” may or may not be particularly helpful to any given individual.

  10. Brilliant, Adele. Tellin’ it like it is!

  11. There are too few words to describe how much I love your posts. Seriously…can we clone you? We need more voices of reason in the blogosphere (and in the world in general, but I’ll take what I can get!)

    Also, thank you so much for doing the legwork and the research. It can be horribly overwhelming trying to parse the science, the pseudo-science, and the BS, especially since it usually just ends up getting parroted as fact. I’ve been guilty of it myself, not always knowing where to start to do good research. But people like you push me (and others, I hope) to find out the truth for ourselves. And I really, really appreciate that.

    Thanks again for a great read!

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Sadly, the research on this one was almost too easy–leading of course to more wonderment as to why so many blogger failed to do it. Of course, it is especially hard to find answers, if you are already sure you have them all in hand.

      The main thing is to ask the questions, be skeptical, don’t be afraid to change your mind. If you are trying to figure out the truth for yourself, the best any of us can do is usually something like “this is what I think I know now . . . ” I think that’s the best kind of research there is.

  12. So good I want to go grab some beef jerky and read it again.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Enjoy the “addictive savory flavor of dead-tasting processed meat products” whilst you read!

      (If I had a band, I would really want to call it The Addictive Savory Flavor of Dead-Tasting Processed Meat Products.)

  13. LCC says:

    Hi Adele, First, I must come out of the woodwork to say that it is *your* blog posts that I most wait for. You are the snarkiest nutrition nerd and each and every post is a pleasure to read.

    I *do* have a question, though: am I one of the bad guys? One of hose clueless bloggers without all that fancy learnin’ confusing all the good and decent people who visit my site looking for answers?

    I think I’m pretty upfront about this – I repeatedly state just how confused I am and how sloppy my research is. Is that, in your estimation, not good enough? Should I start each post with a disclaimer that I don’t know what I am talking about?

    I like to think I make this clear – but should I be more explicit?

    Regardless – please keep doing what you are doing. I’ve laughed out loud at some of your posts and that usually doesn’t happen while reading nutrition blogs.

    Regards,

    Lcc

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      As long as you tell people you have no idea what you are talking about, feel free to hold forth on whatever topic you want: global warming; Kim Kardashian’s weight; whether The Master was a masterpiece or an excruciating bore that made Waterworld look like Citizen Kane. If only the media-anointed “nutrition experts” would do the same.

      I did 3 years of graduate-level training in nutrition, with a focus on nutrition epidemiology. For 2.75 years, I did not get what the vast majority of nutrition studies were trying to get at–because they were observational studies (I did much better with the biochem stuff). Then one day it dawned on me. So I did what I had to do. I looked nutrition epi right in the eye and said, “It’s not me, buddy. It’s you.”

      You may not really be as clueless as you think. There is a reason why, when you read some of these studies, they don’t make sense. Because they don’t. Conclusions are wrung from a partial examination of the data (if you squint a little) and tortured into ‘fessing up to a policy direction already in place.

      So, yes, warn your readers that your research is sloppy. But that warning should be on the studies themselves, not just your blog.

  14. I do not fear nitrates, but if you have ever watched “How It’s Made” on television, you know that most processed meats and any food that comes precooked was cooked in plastic. I do fear some plastics.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      I have a bit of a fear of plastic as well, especially if it’s been shaped into a giant Micky Mouse head. But I’m not all that fond of it for dinner either.

  15. BawdyWench says:

    Adele, I read your link on the MSG study and was frankly amazed, given all the dire warnings out there against it. I’d like to read more. Do you know of any other studies that exonerate MSG? I do know there are people out there who are very sensitive to it, and we all must make our own decisions on whether to avoid it or not (of course, that can be said of all sorts of foods), but it would be interesting to read more.

    I swear, it’s hard to know what to believe anymore. You read one study, and it’s beneficial (or at least innocuous). You read another study, and it’s poison. It seems every blogger out there cites his/her own studies, and their arguments for/against all sound valid.

    We can all do research until the cows come home, but seriously, who has time to chase down every little fact, read all the scientific studies, know which studies are “good” science and which are bogus, sift through all the information, and then make an accurate determination of what’s true?

    Heck, the stress level of that alone is enough to seriously decrease your lifespan, not to mention crush your quality of life. It’s just so overwhelming at times.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Well, you can start with David Despain’s comments (below? above? somewhere on here). I’m not a big fan of PubMed dueling articles–for every study there is an equal and opposite study–because the quality, focus, and type of study vary so widely. And clinically, people will respond however they respond, no matter how many rat studies you wave at them. If you eat MSG and it makes you feel lousy, don’t eat it. Even a placebo affect is a real effect (and I’m not even saying all MSG effects are placebo effects–we may just be ignorant about something).

      I am right with you in that I think that nutrition information pollution (and the stress we generate around it) is as much of a problem as the food in our food supply. I’ve yet to see a consumer poll where “nutritional value” comes in number 1 as the reason behind food choices (apparently, we fret about it a lot, but don’t necessarily insist that it guide our purchasing decisions). Now, there are some people who think that’s a bad thing, that we should be making all of our food choices based on nutrition, but I’m not one of them. What a sad world that would be.

      I would still pinpoint the time we changed our dietary guidance from “what to eat to acquire essential nutrition” to “what NOT to eat to avoid chronic disease” as the moment when everything about our food environment changed: attitudes; behaviors; science; policy, industry, and marketing efforts–not to mention health effects. Back in the early days of the Dietary Guidelines, Al Harper said that giving the public recommendations that promised so much based on such flimsy evidence was likely to not only have unintended negative consequences on health, but would undermine our faith in nutrition science and public health in general. So far, he seems to have been dead on about that.

      On the other hand, it’s sort of cool to watch how it is all shaking out.

    • wendyrg says:

      Half the time (or more!), it’s the stress that’s making us sick (and fat).

      • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

        Before the Dietary Guidelines became (more or less) official in 1980, the Surgeon General’s 1979 report identified smoking, alcohol, and stress as the top 3 preventable lifestyle-related public health concerns. I don’t think this has changed much since then, except that our national eating disorder has made food one of the primary sources of stress.

  16. Whenever folks ask me about MSG, I ask why, if glutamate is excitotoxic, is it that our own bodies make a ton of it? We make more — for purposes of making neurotransmitters — than what we usually get in our diets. Also, it always helps to point out that tomatoes and mushrooms are tasty because of glutamate.

    BTW, if you haven’t seen it already, here was AICR’s response on “Unfit for Human Consumption”: http://blog.aicr.org/2013/05/22/unfit-for-human-consumption-science-vs-spin/

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Thanks for the link. It helps to know that they aren’t any happier about the “spin” than anyone else. Mine’s funnier though :)

      I get that they still recommend against red/processed meats, but I’m pretty sure these recommendations are based primarily on observational studies (the blog post link to a “full explanation” doesn’t provide any additional support), which I don’t think are appropriate for creating nutritional recommendations when it comes to prevention of chronic disease. We’ve been doing that for 35 years and it just is not working out that well. Time to try a different approach.

  17. tess says:

    LIKE!!! ;-) (especially the part about the tequila)

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      If you google the stupid title of this blog and see how many posts there are that match it, what else can you do but self-medicate?

  18. Gingerzingi says:

    Gilligan’s Island, twerking, Fresh Prince, dancewalking, all in one blog post? It’s like you’re writing the new Cultural Literacy handbook!

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Twerkings been on my mind lately. I was commenting to my daughter that I can, in fact, twerk, but it is entirely involuntary on my part.

      As for Gilligan Island, nothing on TV has ever surpassed the genius of the Hamlet parody. EVER.

  19. I recommend lime juice squeezed into tequila, with a few drops of liquid stevia, and orange sparkling water to top.

  20. The dangers of processed meats;
    1) vegetable contaminants – gluten, soy, sugars
    2) often LEAN meat, i.e. 98% fat free ham – an affront to God.
    3) low B6 to protein ratio compared to real meat. This might actually be a problem if it was your only meat as you might have trouble metabolizing and utilizing the amino acids.
    4) MSG – nothing that makes me feel crappy can ever be completely safe. Same goes for aspartame. Science schmience, it’s OK to trust an instinct or two. Just don’t blog pretend science to justify it.

    • Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

      Agreed. I can stand all the polemical meat-hate, until folks start dragging poor old science into it.

    • Gingerzingi says:

      I’m with you on #4. MSG makes me feel like CRAP. Which is enough reason for me to avoid it; I don’t need other justifications, sciency or otherwise.

  21. BawdyWench says:

    LOVE IT! I’ve known about nitrates not being harmful for years. The info on MSG is new to me. I’ve never run across anyone who has anything but dire warnings about MSG.

    PS: I’ve always found “lime juice that has been gently squeezed into a tumbler of tequila” to be calming in most circumstances.

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