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Do health warnings make you change your diet?

12:02 UK time, Friday, 25 February 2011


Health experts are advising us to reduce the amount of red meat we consume to cut the risk of bowel cancer. Will this prompt you to change your eating habits?

The Health Department is recommending we eat no more than 70g a week, the equivalent of three rashers of bacon a day.

Bowel cancer is a serious health problem with 1,600 people in UK dying from the disease every year.

Do you listen to health warnings? What measures do you take to make your diet healthier? Has advice from a health expert ever made you adapt your habits?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    No. My waist line does.

  • Comment number 2.

    They don't make me stop smoking or having the odd glass of wine. Why would they have any effect at all on my diet?

  • Comment number 3.

    Before we start the debate about 'health' and 'junk' foods please remember this is about DIET.

    All food, taken in moderation is healthy.

    All food, taken to excess, is junk food.



  • Comment number 4.

    Do health warnings make you change your diet?
    Health experts are advising us to reduce the amount of red meat we consume to cut the risk of bowel cancer. Will this prompt you to change your eating habits?

    Will defence warnings encourage the government to change course on defence cuts?

    Will warnings of sever poverty and hardship to the lower paid and less off made to the government by charities and other bodies make them change their minds?

    No, is the answer to all three, I wish it weren't for the last two, but there we are.

  • Comment number 5.

    NO - I have an incurable illness so it doesn't matter what these people say..I have very little enjoyment in my daily life and if I want a steak I will have one and that goes for any red meat any number of times of the week.

  • Comment number 6.

    Yes, I listen to health warnings. No, I don't take a lot of notice, as I am waiting to see a degree of agreement amongst the various health authorities over the years. I'll make my mind up just as soon as they make up theirs. In the meantime, I've just been through a series of medical tests, in which everything was checked apart from pregnancy - not really an issue in my case. I'm told that I have the body of a man thirty years younger than my chronological age and that he's going to be a bit annoyed when he finds out.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not in the slightest - I eat as I always have, in balance and moderation.
    Unfortunately there has been so much bad science foisted upon the British public that I for one have lost all confidence in these allegedly irrefutable announcements and warnings.
    As someone familiar with testing hypotheses using data, it beggars belief how poor is some of the research issued for public consumption.
    I've lost count of the number of alleged contributory factors to breast cancer. I've lost count of the theories espoused which just a few years later are disproven and in fact the exact reverse of the truth (e.g. benefits of red-wine, breast feeding, red-meat, salt, eggs, fatty oils, sugar, E-numbers, vitamin supplements, etc. etc.)
    Our government advisors have much to answer for.

  • Comment number 8.

    The advice hasn't changed in forever - eat mostly veg and a bit of meat, keep the fat down, a little sweet stuff and carbs are okay in moderation. Fruits good too.

    What has changed is the pre-prepared stuff which people live on exclusively which is stuffed with chemicals and things you just wouldn't add to a meal at home. Or takeaway food which has been prepared by someome else and you don't know its composition. Also a diet based around carbonated drinks (you know the ones) could cause massive corrosion in the lower bowels later on in life but no one is telling the public that particularly. I'd say that was more relevant food news.

    Telling me to cut down on meat - well my purse is telling me that already. Are we paying much for this advice?

  • Comment number 9.

    In 2009, One of those sixteen hundred was a very close relative of mine. And seeing the effect this disease has on people would make me inclined to listen to this. As should everyone else. You don't want to go through what they did.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have far more red meat than that but no I aint gonna change. I eat it because I enjoy it. I know the risks but then I know I may be killed by any number of things every day.

    I will live now because I may die tomorrow.

  • Comment number 11.

    No my diet is not changed everytime we have a new scare story.
    I've been a vegetarian for some fifteen years (for ethical reasons not health) and it seems to me that most things in moderation seem to provide a healthy enough body. However healthy eating has become a thing of the past, I see things like Rickets appearing again and wonder what went wrong, possibly the removal of milk at school, the warnings about dairy products etc. Certainly post war diets seemed to bring most of my generation through ok.
    Then again of course we didn't have McDonalds, Pizza Hut and chips with everything and most food was prepared fresh and not dragged from freezer to microwave !!

  • Comment number 12.

    You know I really don't understand how all this health food advice is any good. Firstly we're all different gentically - so one size can't fit all, and secondly, in nature ~ Food doesn't come in 5 portions per day and 70g of red meat. Our ancestors would have eaten anything that was available ~ so during summer and autumn fruits and berries, probably during the winter lots of meat or root vegetables.
    I'm only going to eat what I fancy (some days I don't eat meat, other days I eat loads) ~ I'm a 40 year old man - 6ft and 12 stone ~ I don't think I'm doing too badly by just letting my brain decide ~ and not listening to "health" officials who are just trying to make a name for themselves!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Will health warnings make me change my diet answer no.

    The reason for this is very simple if you took notice of every health warning about food that has been issued over the years you would eat nothing, and drink nothing and so die.

    The best way is eat and drink everything in moderation.

  • Comment number 14.

    No, having seen the headlines of the Telegraph and the Mail, where one week red wine gives you cancer, the next week it's good for you, I have become fully inured to watching what/how much I eat. I leave that kind of self-hate to the subscribers of gossip magazines (including the Telegraph & the Daily Mail)

  • Comment number 15.

    The trouble with all these healthy eating recommendations is that they set the change from green to amber at such a low level that all of us end up failing almost instantly. Once you have failed then you sort of give up trying. You have to give a sense of success and then encourage the pursuance of more success not a struggle against degrees of failure.

    Healthy eating makes loads of sense but the way it has been sold, communicated, labelled etc all fail to really serve the purpose and in some cases have the opposite effect. So yes good intentions but total failure to get them across.

    I am fascinated as well by how they come up with this figure, 70g a week? It sounds suspiciously estimated like 21 units of alcohol and x grams of salt etc.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Do health warnings make you change your diet?"

    Yes!

    Usually the worse it is for you, the better it tastes... Bring on the calories!

  • Comment number 17.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 18.

    I am always attempting to cut down consumption of all sorts, and red meat is definitely there.

    However, it is unfortunately a slow process as it requires me to change my outlook.

    So yes, health warnings do have an affect upon me, but it is not immediate as my behaviour can't work that rapidly.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yes all these health and safety concerns expressed by all those "experts" with their noses in the taxpayers trough, my pocket, cause me to eat more "unhealthy" foods and ride my motorcycle faster. I have no wish to live a long time on a planet where I am dictated to by do gooders, I would far rather live as I want a shorter time than longer under their control.

  • Comment number 20.

    Alison Tedstone, government spokesperson, says that there is a "probable link" between bowel cancer and, red and processed meats. 'Probable' is pretty vague I would say. And is it just a correlation or a real causal linkage?

    If 1600 people are dying every year at current meat consumption rates, what would be the rate at the new figure of 70g max per week?
    If we adopted the new level of 70g, how much longer on average would each of us live?

    These are the questions that so-called experts should be answering.
    If there are no predictions, with or without confidence intervals, then the announcements are meaningless.

  • Comment number 21.

    "Then again of course we didn't have McDonalds"

    Sorry mate, but what's wrong with Mcdonalds?

  • Comment number 22.

    Give it a year or two, and some other health "expert" will be telling us to eat more red meat.

    Just ignore them all, it's less confusing.

  • Comment number 23.

    Can't we enjoy food instead of worring about how bad it is for you !

  • Comment number 24.

    No, because they change their minds every other week:

    Coffee is bad for you.

    Coffee is good for you.

    Red wine is bad for you.

    Red wine is good for you.

    Sunlight is bad for you.

    Sunlight is good for you.

    I follow basic rules, wide variety and everything in moderation.

  • Comment number 25.

    Advice, OK. It's when it becomes compulsion (as it almost always does) that I object.

  • Comment number 26.

    No, of course not.

    I believe in good, fresh food properly cooked and eaten in moderation and the latest faddy yammerings from the 'health promotion' freaks are treated with the contempt that they deserve.

    They'll only be saying something different next week, anyway.

  • Comment number 27.

    No, why do some people eat lots of red meat and don't get bowel cancer? I think that you can't make sweeping statements like these without taking into consideration other factors. What if you eat loads of fruit and veggies as well as red meat? How much exercise do you take? Has anyone else in your family suffered from bowel cancer? There are too many variables that are not explained.

    I want to see the data - how many times are we told not to eat something and then a year or so later, we get told something else?

    At the end of the day, we all have to die of something, and personally, I'd prefer it wasn't from boredom.

  • Comment number 28.

    The problem these days, is we keep on getting conflicting information. One year it is good for you and the next it does not do you good. A couple of years later, the process starts all over again. If you use your common sense, [which unfortunately these days seems to be in rapid decline] and eat or drink in moderation, then you should not have any problems, except what is inherited.

  • Comment number 29.

    Health warnings are always over-simplified and often turn out to be wrong. Listen to them but also use common sense. Remember when we were told to cut out the butter and a whole generation turned to hydrogenated vegetable oil instead? Heaven knows how much damage that did.

    The red meat advice is a typical example because it does't distinguish between preserved meat and fresh meat. There have been plenty warnings about nitrates, so for me bacon is just an occasional treat and no way would I eat 70g of that stuff per day! I'd be quite happy to eat twice that in fresh meat however.

    I think the biggest fallacy still repeated religiously is that fat is bad for you. It would not surprise me if low-fat foods turn out to be a major contributor to the obesity epidemic as either they leave you hungry or they are stuffed with quick-release carbs which (ironically) the body will convert to fat unless you exercise immediately.

    To those who whine that healthy meat is unaffordable: do us all a favour, go to your local fish counter and get some mackerel or Cornish sardines. Cheap, healthy and delicious!

  • Comment number 30.

    Sigh No, never have and never will – today’s experts are tomorrow’s apologists and it has always been thus.

    I do not need “EXPERTS” of any kind to tell me that everything should be done in moderation, my mum told me that every day (it’s called common sense you know) but I suppose these people need to justify their over inflated wage packets and university grants somehow.

  • Comment number 31.

    I find it very interesting that the official advice says "could" cut the risk of bowel cancer, and not "will" or "would".

    I believe that much medical advice is based not on clear scientific evidence but rather on statistical inference. A high level of effect Z is observed with a high incidence of factor A, so it's assumed that A causes Z, and especially if the relationship seems logical.

    The flaw in this approach, of not identifying and proving precise scientific cause and effect, is that it ignores the potential influence of a host of other factors. That means you might reduce Z and obtain no benefit, because, in your case at least, the other factors are far more influential.

    And, when someone presents to doctors with say lung disease, and they're a smoker, how often is smoking attributed as the cause without first eliminating other possible factors? I imagine that the statistically high incidence of lung disease among smokers, just for example, is in part at least due to the NHS not bothering to investigate further.

    That means the fundamental statistics used to derive much health advice are flawed.

  • Comment number 32.

    I take no notice whatsoever. The advice changes from week to week and depending on who you ask. Coffee has been good for you then bad then good, much the same for red wine and a wide variety of other food stuffs.
    No doubt another opinion will soon result from a new research program funded by the meat marketing board!

  • Comment number 33.

    It`s not such an inadequate thing to be aware of the baddies in our diets. Mostly my tummy tells me about that.

  • Comment number 34.

    "19. At 12:51pm on 25 Feb 2011, Keith wrote:
    Yes all these health and safety concerns expressed by all those "experts" with their noses in the taxpayers trough, my pocket, cause me to eat more "unhealthy" foods and ride my motorcycle faster. I have no wish to live a long time on a planet where I am dictated to by do gooders, I would far rather live as I want a shorter time than longer under their control."
    ==============================================================

    Bravo Keith. Well said sir.

    Having recently witnessed the end of my mother's long life, the last 10 years of which were hell for her (no quality of life, in her terms), I have no wish to scrifice myself now for the benefit of a longer life when the extra years a) are not guaranteed, and b) might well be hell.

    medical and food sciences should concentrate on improving quality of life, not simply extending it.

  • Comment number 35.

    A lot of these health warnings are so vague and endlessly contradictory depending on the 'expert' that there's no real reason to listen to them.

    The full English breakfast is apparently both good AND bad for me.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article3758517.ece
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/128831/Fry-up-gets-expert-approval/

    Better to live by the adage 'everything in moderation' and sheer common sense when it comes to diet and exercise.

  • Comment number 36.

    No, should they?

  • Comment number 37.

    The warnings are so regular and contradictory that I doubt if anybody pays any attention to them. The NHS seems to employ so many people who have a remit to issue health warnings which often are completely contrary to the warning they issued the previous week that what springs to mind is that nothing these soundbite experts say has any credibility. It's the old adage of "cry wolf "; and there is no longer anyone listening.

  • Comment number 38.

    No I hate biased advice from researchers and give it little credence.
    That, and the observation that the po-faced nannies who dole out the advice invariably look like such misery-guts I don't want to live like them neither do I wish to listen to their advice or orders.

  • Comment number 39.

    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.

    Listen to the scientists. They spend their lives researching such things. The masses rely on gut reaction.

  • Comment number 40.

    EXPERT
    EX PERT

    EX = a has-been, sPURT = a drip under pressure.

    Enough said.

  • Comment number 41.

    Listening to health experts requires constant attention as their recommendations fluctuate. Probably according to the organization who sponsors their research.

    When the experts go beyond their remit - as in the case of the BMA who conflate medical advice with advice to the government on alcohol taxation levels - then it is time to ignore them.

    Anyone remember the recommendations by experts who told us to eat lots of lard, sponsored by the Lard Council of Great Britain. And the health experts who told us that smoking Camel cigarrettes where OK because that was the brand doctors preferred to smoke.

    The question to ask is 'Whose health expert are you?'

  • Comment number 42.

    12. At 12:38pm on 25 Feb 2011, Jonnogm wrote:
    "You know I really don't understand how all this health food advice is any good. Firstly we're all different genetically..."

    Some common sense at last. We all know certain people who can eat however much of whatever they like and never gain a stone, and others who despite being forever on diets and restricting their eating remain inclined toward adiposity. Those who deny this basic fact even in the face of peer-reviewed studies suggesting (for instance) that body size (BMI and waist circumference) is 77% genetic do so as a result of ingrained prejudice and because they can't accept that what they've been told about personal culpability and 'you are what you eat' might just be wrong.

    What's more, we've been conned into believing that we can tell that the second person is inherently unhealthier than the first just by looking at them. In fact it is fast becoming accepted within scientific circles (not that you'd know by the media's presentation of the topic) that sedentary thin people with less 'healthy' diets (and I am aware of the limitations of the word in this context, given how the definitions are so fluid) have greater risks than active people with high BMIs. Then there's the words 'elevated risk' - a statistical construct which depending on the original probablity can be utterly meaningless but which nevertheless make for lurid headlines when expressed as percentages and superficially reported.

    To keep abreast of all the scientific advice on diet, exercise and obesity and to follow it all to the letter would surely be equivalent to a full-time occupation (if not, given how much of it is directly contradictory, literally impossible). However, I suspect the Government don't really care about the accuracy of public health advice - its very existence and quantity serves a purpose in distracting us from the real issues facing society by insisting we focus on individual health and policing one another's conformity to the new doctrine of healthy living.

    The media aren't going to challenge it, as it supplies them with the subject matter for exaggerated headlines and moral panic, and researchers and scientists benefit too, because devising abstracts which focus on 'trendy' topics such as obesity and diet guarantees both streams of funding (often from big Pharma) and subsequent publicity (leading to more funding) when their 'findings' inevitably follow the general narrative. Conversely, researchers who critique or deviate from the established consensus have reported these funding avenues being closed and their work censured by a peer review / journal system which stifles dissenting approaches.

    As others have said I suspect the stress and anxiety of being judged as 'failing' in the task of living a sufficiently healthy lifestyle itself contributes considerably to many of the diseases and conditions being allegedly linked to modern life. Nowhere does this seem to be more true than in schools, where kids have been systematically brainwashed into believing being fat is a crime / death sentence, accepting without question the idea of 'good' and 'bad' food choices and policing their own / parents' diets and lifestyles in an ultimately futile attempt to cheat the Reaper.

    News flash: we're all going to die of something, and personally I'd rather enjoy my food and drink (whatever the neo-Puritans claim, they're some of life's great pleasures) and not spend my life fretting about every morsel that passes my lips than exchange this fundamental freedom for a life of salads, jogging (your choice if that appeals, just as it's mine not to partake) and ten extra years in the nursing home at the end. Or in other words, the resurgent fat police we thought had been dumped with the last Government can prise my full-fat Coke and burger from my cold, dead, chubby fingers.

  • Comment number 43.

    The Health Department is recommending we eat no more than 70g a week, the equivalent of three rashers of bacon a day.
    ------------------------------------------------

    I think I'll wait a week or two before the experts recommend we eat more than 70g of red meat a week because it is good for us and prevents some other unwanted side effect........ Eggs Bad - Eggs now good. Chocolate bad - Chocolate now good and so on and on and on.




  • Comment number 44.

    3 rashers-worth of bacon a day? I would normally only eat that much red meat in a week. Most health warnings involve large amounts of a particular food, so I don't feel it necessary to change my diet.

    Everything in moderation is just fine, and anyone with a balanced and varied diet can take the health warnings with a pinch of salt!

  • Comment number 45.

    19. At 12:51pm on 25 Feb 2011, Keith wrote:
    Yes all these health and safety concerns expressed by all those "experts" with their noses in the taxpayers trough, my pocket, cause me to eat more "unhealthy" foods and ride my motorcycle faster. I have no wish to live a long time on a planet where I am dictated to by do gooders, I would far rather live as I want a shorter time than longer under their control."

    25. At 1:08pm on 25 Feb 2011, countrobert wrote:
    Advice, OK. It's when it becomes compulsion (as it almost always does) that I object.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Absolutely agree 100% with both comments. If only there were still some way of recommending them.

  • Comment number 46.

    There is a very simple test to determine accurately whether a particular food is good for you or bad for you.

    It is this: If is is nice is is bad for you.



  • Comment number 47.

    Health statistics should be placed in a realistic setting. The consumption of red meat may well be associated with an increased incidence of bowel cancer, which is responsible for 1600 deaths annually, in the UK.
    This is one death annually, per 37,500 of the population. If you look at the problem from this perspective, the apparent risk factor seems less dramatic. Compare this to the 94,000 deaths annually, due to coronary heart disease, or one death annually per 638 of us.

  • Comment number 48.

    Spending one's existence in the pursuit of the avoidance of death is no good substitute for the achievements of living!

    No - health warning have no affect on my behaviour - I live for life.

  • Comment number 49.

    In most cases there is no problem with the studies or their real conclusions.

    However, as the national media seems to be devoid of anyone with an understanding of absolute risk and relative risk, joe public gets fed a constant stream of knee-jerk, sensationalist headlines about anything to do with health or diet.

    Sensibly Reckless has already given the best advice on diet. Don't worry people.

  • Comment number 50.

    I pay little heed to them.

    I used to ride in a car with a man who appeared to think that the maximum speed on roads was the suggested speed. Fine except when on German autobahns!

    I take the same attitude to govt health warnings.

  • Comment number 51.

    Government health advisers - pah!!
    Look there's a wolf!!
    Look there's a wolf!!
    Look there's a wolf!!
    Look there's a wolf!! No there really is one this time! OK, it was a corgi.
    Look there's a wolf!!
    Look there's a wolf!!
    Look there's a wolf!! No there really, really is one this time! Actually, no it's just a small cat. Can I have another million quid please? Thanks.
    Look there's a wolf!!
    Look there's a wolf!!
    Look there's a wolf!! Well, it LOOKED like a wolf! Stupid sheep! Any more money left? Thanks. Can I have a bonus for all the warnings I've given you? Thanks.
    Howl!! Chomp!!
    Where did that wolf come from?? Well, I wasn't looking that way was I? Not my fault! Can I have another million quid please?

    etc....


  • Comment number 52.

    All the health warnings are fine but the fact remains that life expectancy in the UK is similar to comparable countries so maybe more of us die because of X but to balance less of us die because of Y. One fact is well known the longer you live the greater the odds of developing a for of cancer.

  • Comment number 53.

    ..and I usually just had two rashers of bacon for breakie, I can up it to 3 now!!

  • Comment number 54.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 55.

    I don't normally take any notice of 'government advice' but I am going to take heed of this one. I've been suffering with various digestive complaints over the past few years, and have had various tests which thankfully have not shown any serious problems as yet. But I will cut down on red meat. I know how uncomfortable and painful my digestive tract is now, god forbid if eating lots of red meat did cause cancer, I do not want to go through that and will do what I need to to reduce the risk.

  • Comment number 56.

    Perfectly reasonable advice for the Department of Health to give out based on the research and data they have available.

    Conclusion: pig out constantly on our red meat endowed friends in the animal kingdom and you may pay a heavy price.

    Personally, my body's a temple (apart form the ocassional indiscrecion with Porky pig and Colin Chicken).

    Everything in moderation seems a good strategy.

  • Comment number 57.

    Not the warnings but my own body's reaction to abuse

    At a personal level I have quit meat, reduced sugar and abandoned alcohol.

    At a family level we have much less of the same than say 20 years ago and substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fats wherever possible.
    The amount of butter we used to eat was incredible. I could comfortably cope with it whilst young but not now. I expect this has a lot to do with aging and too much food of any type will make me unfit ( ie the categorisation by "experts" as healthy or unhealthy is an irrelevance).

    I do not wait for a govt expert to tell me what is best in terms of health. Their opinions differ from year to year. Most health-diet issues are patently obvious. The body reacts to abuse with an expanded waist-line, greater weight, breathlessness and so on.

    I suspect many are conscious of their level of fat intake and some would like to do something towards reducing it.

    What does concern me is the lack of independent research and if necessary health warnings into wireless communications - ie mobile phone transmitters on schools, railway stations, public buildings.
    Research is conducted but even after 20 odd years of common usage of mobile phones results are said to be inconclusive - is this true or is research paid for by interested parties ? I suspect the latter in the absence of independent evidence from research funded solely by the govt that conclusively and rigorously proves em radiation from mobile phone transmitters is not generally detrimental to health.

    EM radiation is a known hazard. No-one would stick their heads in a microwave oven, or deliberately live next to power lines if they could afford not to, yet the issue of transmitters on schools is ignored by the health inspectors of this and every previous govt. Maybe there are commercial interests at play.

    A report downloadable from this site discusses them if anyone is interested:

    http://archive.radiationresearch.org/pdfs/15reasons.asp

    Will govt health inspectors discuss the same or are they interested in eggs and red meat alone?

  • Comment number 58.

    21. At 12:52pm on 25 Feb 2011, We_Are_All_Utd wrote:
    "Then again of course we didn't have McDonalds"

    Sorry mate, but what's wrong with Mcdonalds?
    ****************************
    From an ethical point of view : Its a dead cow.

    From a health point of view, nothing as long as it is not your staple diet and just an occaisional treat.
    Supersize me (not).


  • Comment number 59.

    54. At 2:23pm on 25 Feb 2011, blasarfwyd wrote:
    · 39. At 1:47pm on 25 Feb 2011, zrzavy wrote:
    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.

    Listen to the scientists. They spend their lives researching such things. The masses rely on gut reaction.


    #### ### ## # # ## ### #### ### ## # ## ### ####

    As we have been meat eater for thousand of years and our life expectancy have nearly doubled over the past 100 years, the scientists have clearly got it wrong. Again.

    -------------------

    My money's on it being a mixture of sloppy reporting and Joe Public misunderstanding.

  • Comment number 60.

    54. At 2:23pm on 25 Feb 2011, blasarfwyd wrote:
    · 39. At 1:47pm on 25 Feb 2011, zrzavy wrote:
    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.

    Listen to the scientists. They spend their lives researching such things. The masses rely on gut reaction.


    #### ### ## # # ## ### #### ### ## # ## ### ####

    As we have been meat eater for thousand of years and our life expectancy have nearly doubled over the past 100 years, the scientists have clearly got it wrong. Again.
    **********************************
    Yep we have eaten meat for a long period of time.
    However basic research will point to sanitation and medical advancement being responsible for the high rise in life expentancy over the last hundred years.
    Not Big Macs.

  • Comment number 61.

    No. I don't listen to this nonsense because these so-called scientists keep changing their minds all the time about what is good or bad for you.

    I just try to have a balanced diet with everything in sensible moderation. I could probably do with eating a bit more healthily and there are a few things I could cut down on but I am generally happy and healthy. I don't see the point in living to an old age and being miserable. I'd rather have the odd 'naughty' thing and be happy. Even if it does mean I might die a few years earlier!

  • Comment number 62.

    1600 deaths a year.

    For 2009 - the latest government published figures - the deaths from C.Dif are 3,933 and from MRSA 781. More than 4,700. Perhaps the Health Department need to look closer to home to avoid a far greater number of deaths by cleaning up our hospitals before they start trying to control what we eat. This is something they are directly responsible for and are failing to adequately address.

    Perhaps Hospitals should carry a Government Health Warning?

  • Comment number 63.

    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.

    Listen to the scientists. They spend their lives researching such things. The masses rely on gut reaction.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    What the.... are you for real?

  • Comment number 64.

    I will not be heading the advice of these "Health Experts"

    I don't think they are wrong - in fact I have every faith in their science - if I avoid eating too much red meat then I may well dodge bowel cancer, but I will die of something else. Maybe pneumonia or heart desease. If I live long enough then the probability of being hit by a car approaches 100%! And when death does catch me, maybe at 35, maybe at 135, I will die happily as long as I know that I have really lived.

    So I will strive to work jobs that I enjoy, I will have a family, I will walk in the hills and swim in the rivers, and I will eat 3 inch thick, rare fillet steak with lincolnshire sausage and heavily salted chips whilst drinking gallons of red wine and then top it off with a cuban cigar the size of a baby's forearm.

    I will do this as often as possible and I will die sooner than many but happier than most.

  • Comment number 65.

    Do health warnings make you change your diet?

    No. If you listen to these, you'd be changing your diet every week. Contradictory warnings are constantly being given. I tend to go on the basis of 'everything in moderation'.

    I only ever listened to one health warning. My GP warned me 20 years ago (I was 35 at the time) that if I didn't stop smoking immediately I'd be lucky to see my 50th birthday. I stopped immediately and I'm still here, so maybe it worked.

  • Comment number 66.

    As most health warning come with a retraction or rethink within a couple of years, I routinely ignore them. Moderation is the key. Anyone who exists entirely on junk food and fizzy drinks is no great loss to the gene pool anyway.

  • Comment number 67.

    Definitely not, why all the fuss, the world is over populated anyway, and I will continue to eat what I like when I like. A far better approach to Global Warming is to reduce the population, so I will continue with my philosophy of prefering a short happy life to a long miserablem one.

  • Comment number 68.

    I somehow suspected that most HYSers would answer this question in the negative, and was pleasantly not surprised to find that I was, as usual, right.
    Fellow contributors might like to follow my example and take heed to advice from health experts in inverse proportion to the degree of self-righteous, self important nannying of the "expert" presenting the recommendation(s).

  • Comment number 69.

    No.

  • Comment number 70.

    The advice changes so often that it is pointless following it. Money is far more to the point. I rarely eat meat these days as it costs too much. I am tending more and more towards vegetarianism as a way of saving money since I became a pensioner.

  • Comment number 71.

    In 2010, I twice was within the clutches of the British Health and Hospital system, including 3 inpatient stays, and a total of 8 nights 'inside' (probably worse than prison!), and I can honestly say the closest I came to death in 2010 was while in hospital. Nothing to do with the operation, all to do with post operative nursing care (or not)and poor hospital hygiene!

    I won't elaborate as this isn't the topic, but all attempts at health and longevity should be focussed at staying out of hospital as far as it is possible to do so.

    Eating live Elvis is mere bagatelle in comparison!

  • Comment number 72.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 73.

    We_Are_All_Utd wrote:
    Sorry mate, but what's wrong with Mcdonalds?


    paul wrote:
    From an ethical point of view : Its a dead cow.


    There's nothing unethical about eating a dead cow. There are several ethical problems associated with McDonalds and most other fast food retailers; the fact that they serve meat to their customers is not one of them.

  • Comment number 74.

    WiseOldBob

    -------------------------------

    Ok Robert, answer me this. Is Red Wine good for me?

  • Comment number 75.

    #1 says it all.
    People eat less crap and more healthy foods because they are gaining weight.
    The scientific community is discredited because one month food x is bad for you, next month the same thing is good for you.
    Its all pseudoscience reported by hard up researchers trying to drum up their next grant.
    I personally don't take notice of any of it because I eat a healthy balanced diet.

  • Comment number 76.

    60. At 2:42pm on 25 Feb 2011, paul wrote:
    54. At 2:23pm on 25 Feb 2011, blasarfwyd wrote:
    · 39. At 1:47pm on 25 Feb 2011, zrzavy wrote:
    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.

    Listen to the scientists. They spend their lives researching such things. The masses rely on gut reaction.


    #### ### ## # # ## ### #### ### ## # ## ### ####

    As we have been meat eater for thousand of years and our life expectancy have nearly doubled over the past 100 years, the scientists have clearly got it wrong. Again.
    **********************************
    Yep we have eaten meat for a long period of time.
    However basic research will point to sanitation and medical advancement being responsible for the high rise in life expentancy over the last hundred years.
    Not Big Macs.
    --------------------------

    Homo habilis used tools that allowed him to skin large animals and eat their meat over one million years ago. After that many years of evolution its quite reasonable to consider pig or cow flesh 'natural' to the human diet. Big Macs on the other hand... ;-)

  • Comment number 77.

    NO. I don't generally take any notice of health warnings. They change with the wind anyway. I'll just take my chances with what I like to eat, and just hope it doesn't lead me to any early grave.

    Having said that though, I wouldn't like to end up obese. Luckily I'm one of those people who never puts on much weight even over Christmas. I don't know what that means about my body, but it does mean I can get away with alot.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    "I wouldn’t describe a Big Mac as red meat"

    Well you need to do you research.

    There's more red meat in a McDonalds burger, than any supermarket minced meat.

    Just because you can't swallow (pun intended) McDonalds business ethics, don't throw the usual "it's not meat" clap-trap out there.

  • Comment number 80.

    'Do health warnings make you change your diet?'

    No. If governments were THAT concerned about health, they would at least make an effort to regulate the processed food, alcohol and tobacco industries.

  • Comment number 81.

    Actual scientific evidence, generated by properly-done research that passes muster in a peer-reviewed journal, is one thing.

    The statistics-generated supposition on which 'health warnings' are based don't count as science and are even more unreliable than weather forecasts.

    I can generate probabilities quite easily by rolling my dice...

  • Comment number 82.

    73. At 3:10pm on 25 Feb 2011, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    We_Are_All_Utd wrote:
    Sorry mate, but what's wrong with Mcdonalds?


    paul wrote:
    From an ethical point of view : Its a dead cow.


    There's nothing unethical about eating a dead cow. There are several ethical problems associated with McDonalds and most other fast food retailers; the fact that they serve meat to their customers is not one of them.
    ***********************
    He did ask ...me... what was wrong with McDonalds and as a vegetarian I have to say from my viewpoint it is ethically wrong, however that is my opinion. We will obviously never agree but the statement is correct as its my ethics I am discussing.
    As I said from a health point of view, as long as it's not your staple diet and just an occaisional treat I'm sure it won't harm you....... providing of course it's BSE and Ecoli free.



  • Comment number 83.

    Just a thought wonder how much our health would improve if the following was done.

    Close all Mcdonalds, KFC's and other similar fast food outlets

    Stop the selling of ready meals and other processed foods.

    People would happen learn to cook properly then.

    Would any Government do that no because they would lose all that nice VAT off them.

    No matter if we are healthier we put less strain on the health service


    Just a thought

  • Comment number 84.

    People seem to be getting very aggressive about this uncontroversial issue. Too much Red meat? The Article says the scientists say that Too much red meat is bad for you. Everything is bad for you if you have too much of it including Oxygen and Water. If you want to continue eating as much red meat as you want then just do it and stop trying to drag others down with you.

  • Comment number 85.

    72. At 3:08pm on 25 Feb 2011, blasarfwyd wrote:
    · 60. At 2:42pm on 25 Feb 2011, paul wrote:
    54. At 2:23pm on 25 Feb 2011, blasarfwyd wrote:
    · 39. At 1:47pm on 25 Feb 2011, zrzavy wrote:
    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.

    Listen to the scientists. They spend their lives researching such things. The masses rely on gut reaction.


    #### ### ## # # ## ### #### ### ## # ## ### ####

    As we have been meat eater for thousand of years and our life expectancy have nearly doubled over the past 100 years, the scientists have clearly got it wrong. Again.
    **********************************
    Yep we have eaten meat for a long period of time.
    However basic research will point to sanitation and medical advancement being responsible for the high rise in life expentancy over the last hundred years.
    Not Big Macs.

    ###########################################

    From my limited experience of Mc Thingy.

    I wouldn’t describe a Big Mac as red meat
    *************************
    True its more of a grey spongy thing covered with glutinous toppings :-)


  • Comment number 86.

    14. At 12:43pm on 25 Feb 2011, pandatank wrote:
    No, having seen the headlines of the Telegraph and the Mail, where one week red wine gives you cancer, the next week it's good for you, I have become fully inured to watching what/how much I eat. I leave that kind of self-hate to the subscribers of gossip magazines (including the Telegraph & the Daily Mail)
    =========================oooooooooooooooo================================
    So you would prefer that emerging & contradictory evidence/opinion is suppressed?.
    That both sides of an issue are published is seen as a further opportunity for an inclusive insult by idiot Mail-O-Phobes.
    Try guzzling your fish & chips from some rag other than the Guardian & ingesting large doses of Pollyanna propaganda.
    Mushy peas & Toynbee Twaddle result only in acute dyspepsia & flatulence so, for the sake of common decency, the bedwetters should release it where their sanctimonious ignorance & stupidity is more appropriate e.g. a public convenience


  • Comment number 87.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 88.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 89.

    "Not in the quantities I drink it in"

    haha! touché.

  • Comment number 90.

    79. At 3:28pm on 25 Feb 2011, We_Are_All_Utd wrote:
    "I wouldn’t describe a Big Mac as red meat"

    Well you need to do you research.

    There's more red meat in a McDonalds burger, than any supermarket minced meat.

    Just because you can't swallow (pun intended) McDonalds business ethics, don't throw the usual "it's not meat" clap-trap out there.

    McDonalds burger are 99.99% meat; all that's added is some salt and pepper.

    Also, the food safety standards/microbiological testing criteria applied to batches of McDonald's burgers during slaughterhouse processing are the best in the industry.

  • Comment number 91.

    39. At 1:47pm on 25 Feb 2011, zrzavy wrote:
    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.

    ---------------------------------------
    What if something is tinned? can I use a tin opener that it is a tool.

  • Comment number 92.

    The media, and the way that they present data from scientific journals, is the biggest problem with confusing and contradictory advise on diets/health etc.

    Main culprit is poor knowledge and improper use of statistics by journalists to "sensationalise" a story that is totally benign

  • Comment number 93.

    Why did "God" make animals so tasty if he did not want us to fill our boots?

  • Comment number 94.

    With all the health warnings in recent years the only safe course is not to eat or drink anything. Is this the only real option? How the heck has mankind lasted this long? I might walk under a bus worrying about what I can or can't eat so I think I will have a nice thick steak, just in case.

  • Comment number 95.

    39. At 1:47pm on 25 Feb 2011, zrzavy wrote:
    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.
    -----------------------------------------
    Not so. I eat cows & pigs because they are yummy. I could catch & eat dung beetles with my hands but I would rather eat cows & pigs.
    BTW does your reasoning mean we should only eat things raw, as the ability to make fire involves tools?

  • Comment number 96.

    The question should be what do the farmers and growers, and others'The food companys, and burger chains, supermarkets and butchers put in or do to {meat} to give people cancer????

  • Comment number 97.

    39. At 1:47pm on 25 Feb 2011, zrzavy wrote:
    Red meats PERMANENTLY change the DNA of the bowel. Research it!

    We should only eat animals which we can kill with our hands (as our teeth witness).

    Humans only eat cows and pigs because we developed tools, but they are not our natural foods and we should not eat it.
    *************************************
    You do realise that even as I type this there is probably a burly slaughterhouseman attempting to strangle a cow !

    Even as a vegetarian I have to say that we are equipped to be omnivores (not carnivores as we would have a vitamin C problem)
    Even animals use tools, primates, Crows etc, then you have to consider carrion, vultures and the like that don't kill but still feed from dead things. Primative man probably had more luck this way to supplement his diet of whatever was available, hunting was difficult, dangerous and a big loss of energy to be his only way of feeding.

    Having said this I could never go back to eating animals again.
    But thats for our own consciences eh !

  • Comment number 98.

    Having gone through these posts, there are a few things I would like to point out:

    1) There are 6 classes of carcinogens (things that cause cancer), which range from "Probably doesn't cause cancer" to "Probably causes cancer". Science is never 100% accurate (hen you get into detail, at least) as statistical anomalies always occur.

    2) Similarly, the link between cancer and red meat may seem tenuous, and I would personally agree. But it is wrong to say it is false because it didn't take other factors into consideration. Case studies place people in groups with single variables to identify a common cause. For example, of the 1600: 400 are red meat and smoked, 400 ate red meat and drank, 400 ate red meat and were healthy and 400 ate red meat and played the trombone. Oversimplifying, if all 1600 get it then red meat is highlighted - if only the last 400, then trombones may be deadly.

    3) I have a degree in Biomedical Chemistry from one of the top Uni's in the country. It was not easy to get! Please stop saying that researchers don't know what they are on about. Scientific studies are (usually) well planned, well conducted and rigorous in all aspects. However the results are spun and skewed is not the fault of the scientists (c.f Prof. Nutt)

    4) Regarding eating only what you can kill - how would that work? We evolved to use tools because the chances of breeding were very slim if you tried to head butt a wild boar to death. What are your feelings on cat food, because my cat loves salmon and prawns, but I have yet to see her crew a trawler.

    5) With genetic diversity and environmental factors, the effects of almost everything you do are largely mitigated. Some things, like smoking and alcohol, have very large impacts and need to be moderated a lot (by you!). Meat is probably not going to affect a varied diet that badly.

    6) What is done to processed meat seems far worse to me.

    Generally, just use your own judgment. If you can't walk up stairs without your arm tingling, lay off the Big Macs for a while. If you are building a house, tofu and a crumpet is probably not a good breakfast either.

    The only solid advice I can give you about meet is this: Never, EVER cook bacon naked :S

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    Yes, I listen to news items about what constitutes a healthy diet and/or lifestyle. But I am also a sensible person who was raised in a healthy, active household. We ate lots of fruit and veg, and had a very varied assortment of foods. We had pudding once a week (Ok, sometimes twice during school holidays). My parents had a little tipple every evening after work, but to my knowledge only rarely got drunk.

    Because of my upbringing, I tend not to gorge myself on sweet or fatty foods, and while I drink it's usually not to excess. I also try to walk a lot (I don't have a car), and get regular exercise. I feel bad for people whose diets are full of rubbish and who sit on the sofa all weekend instead of getting out for some fresh air and a brisk walk/play with the kids. But getting these people to change their habits is hard - and I'm certainly not the type to walk up to strangers and say 'Hey, you're pretty fat - maybe you should cut back on the Mr. Kiplings and cider'.

    Part of the problem is that many health warnings contradict one another. A high-profile example is alcohol consumption (drink more! drink less! drink this specific amount!). I am a scientist, and even I find the messages confusing because the press often can't be bothered to get their facts right, anyway. Imagine the confusion this causes to people who either a) believe everything the press says; or b) aren't capable of understanding the full details of the original scientific research.

    With respect to red meat, we get much the same story. Red meat is an excellent source of iron and protein, and we have in the past been told that it is good for us to eat at least some red meat each week. Now we are being told to cut down. If I fed my husband (who weighs 150lb and has the metabolism of a hummingbird) 70g of red meat at a sitting, he'd fade away to nothing inside of a month!

 

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