The Viva Vine: vol #5, no #3: November / December 1996


Cancer Society says you should not eat red meat,
not even a little,
not even if it's lean

The American Cancer Society released tough new warnings about meat consumption in mid-September, going even beyond guidelines put out in January by the USDA (see VivaVine, Jan./Feb., 1996).

The warnings pack a particularly strong punch as cancer is expected to be the leading cause of death in the US by the year 2000, nudging out heart disease. Cancer now causes 500,000 deaths every year in the United States.

Particularly telling about the announcement were the comments by Dr. Marion Nestle, chairman of the advisory committee that developed the guidelines for the society, as reported in the New York Times. Distinguishing its recommendations about diet from those of the USDA, Dr. Nestle proclaimed that the society's dietary advice regarding meat consumption, as well as other factors, was not influenced by commercial concerns. [note: Dr. Nestle is also quoted in reason #51 of 1996 ed. of 101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian.]

For instance, whereas the USDA guidelines would allow red meat--as long as it is lean; the American Cancer Society would restrict red meat altogether.

Regrettably, the cancer society's recommendations would allow chicken and seafood as part of ones' diet. This, however, seems to be only a concession, as the society advises that any animal food be relegated to "side dish rather than as the focus of a meal."

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