Monday, August 17, 2009

Everything in Moderation.

Been lots of coverage of the shocking advice from the World Cancer Research Fund, published today, advising parents not to put processed meats in children's lunch boxes. The claim is that it could lead to bowel cancer in later life. Must admit, my reaction to all this publicity is deep scepticism. Sounds like over-egging it to me. The prejudices which may have influenced me are two. Firstly, six years ago, I was struck down with bowel cancer myself - and secondly, the whole of my business life has been founded on the production of red meat.

I've always been doubtful about these sort of scare stories. It seems to me obvious that eating too much food, or eating foods that make us fat are unwise. It follows that encouraging our children to eat such foods must also be unwise. But how should parents give effect to these observations. Some steps are obvious. Over the years our house has accepted that too much sugar, salt, fatty foods and confectionery should be avoided - except at Xmas. And fruit, vegetables, and semi skimmed are always available. Unfortunately, nuts and wine remain unconquered. And we still eat red meat, at least once a week, sometimes more often. I had become almost vegetarian until the announcement that there may have been a link between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Creutzveldt Jacob Disease - after which I felt it was my duty to eat more beef. No principle involved in my near vegetarianism. I just prefer fish, macaroni cheese, fishcakes etc.

I do not remember hearing either of my Nains saying "everything in moderation" but I imagine its what they would have said. Its also what the UK Food Standards Agency says. "Processed meat is fine - but not too often". Sounds like good sense to me. I'm not at all 'convinced' by the supposed 'convincing' evidence which has been produced today. Seems to me that it's more to do with eating too much, with too much of it fattening, and not taking enough exercise to stop getting fat. I find the video clip in this BBC report very 'unconvincing'. I do hope that the cancer charities are not being hijacked by the vegetarian movement.


The Wilted Rose said...

Just substitute soya/tofu for the meat and add a bit of tomato ketchup and the kids won't notice. After all, soya mince in chilli non carne, cottage pie, or spaghetti soyognese tastes the same as meat!

Anonymous said...

The issue, if there really is one, is processed meats, not red meat per se. Anyway, everything in moderation - even H2O can kill you if you drink too much of it as shown, e.g., with ecstasy over-hydration deaths. Dihydrogen monoxide - can hydrate you, and if over done over-hydrate you.

As to substituting all meat with soya - soy protein has an allergen issue - not that surprising given that our ancestors didn't get to eat processed soy.

I would say that it would be dangerous to substitute meat with processed soy products in the diet of a child. This is serious stuff. By all means moderate the amount of red meat in the diet, but don't exclude it in its entirety.

Then there are other 'meats' like white meat. Fish, poultry, etc. We should not exclude these from the diet of children - this would be very foolish, particularly if it is done as a whim or based on ignorance.

By all means moderate a child's intake of processed meats. Same goes for too much cheese. The trick is a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruit, and meat of various kinds with processed meat in moderation.

Factoryhand. said...

A butcher, as I`m sure you`ve seen on countless occasion, takes the carcass, and sorts/trims the cuts, the fillets, the rumps and sirloins, the legs, the neck, shoulders, breast meat `n ribs,the offal.
After all the priceworthy pieces are taken, the rest is gathered and minced up , mixed with biscuit or soy and "preservatives", and sold as baloney or spam , and excess baloney is never a good idea, too much spam is certainly irritating.