Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
April 30, 2023
Technology is ever evolving. Just look at the rise in Artificial Intelligence (AI). The functionality is impressive. You can use a chat bot to write emails, blog posts, even books! (Don’t worry, every word you read here is still painstakingly created and typed by me!). With all these advances, why not utilize technology to improve our nutrition?
Advocates say lab grown meat is the “food of the future”! It’s been touted as a solution to food inaccessibility, and scientists are working to craft a customized nutritional profile to maximize the health benefits. Plus, they claim no animals are harmed in the process while reducing costs to the consumer. Sounds a little too good to be true, right? Let’s look at what we know.
Humans have become the dominant animal on this planet mainly because the growth and development of our brain. And our brain has been nourished from the consumption of animal fats, organs, and meats. This has occurred as our species, Homo Sapiens, has evolved during the last 300,000 years. It even can be traced back 2.5 million years.
Yet today, there is an effort to replace this nourishment with manmade foods that are highly processed and created in a lab. Eating these processed foods over years and decades could cause untold damage to our health. Look at what we do know now.
Our foods are increasingly processed, with the addition of sugar and seed oils becoming more and more prevalent. Seed oils are being used in place of healthy animal fats. We already know those items are detrimental to our health and are seeing research emerge about the long-lasting damage.
Specifically, there is a trend today to create meat in a lab for world consumption. This manmade meat is called “cultured meat” or “cultivated meat”. In my opinion, this should scare the hell out of you! There are no long-term studies of the intricate and subtle changes that might occur in the multitude of metabolic pathways in the body to suggest this is the way to feed the world. Knowing what we do know about the quality of processed food, and what is considered “healthy”, this should scare the hell out of you!
Just because cultured meat is being researched and produced more and more doesn’t mean it is healthy.
The first cultured beef burger patty was created by Mark Post at Maastricht University in 2013. In time, SuperMeat opened a farm-to-fork restaurant called “The Chicken” in Tel Aviv to test consumer reaction to its “Chicken” burger, and the “world’s first commercial sale of cell-cultured meat” occurred in December 2020 at a Singapore restaurant called 1880.
Cultured meat is produced by growing animal cells in vitro (i.e., taking place outside of a living organism). Although the science of cultured meat is growing quickly, these products don’t include the natural ratios of animal fats, blood, growth factors, collagen, and many other inherent nutrients that are part of real animal-based foods. The facts are that the science of pastured animal-based foods is clearly healthy and critical for human development and that it is supportive of our environment. Unfortunately, there has been much misinformation that wrongfully states that the consumption of real meat is unhealthy.
Human Diet & Evolution
This article published in 2023 summarizes all the facts about eating real meat in the development of our human body. The authors listed five bullet points that were significant to understand:
- Aspects of human anatomy, digestion, and metabolism diverged from other primates, indicating evolutionary reliance on, and compatibility with, substantial meat intake. Implications of a disconnect from evolutionary dietary patterns may contribute to today’s burden of disease, increasing the risk for both nutrient deficiencies and chronic diseases.
- Meat supplies high-quality protein and various nutrients, some of which are not always easily obtained with meat-free diets and are often already suboptimal or deficient in global populations. Removal of meat comes with implications for a broad spectrum of nutrients that need to be accounted for, whereas compensatory dietary strategies must factor in physiological and practical constraints.
- Although meat makes up a small part (<10%) of global food mass and energy, it delivers most of the global vitamin B12 intake and plays a substantial role in the supply of other B vitamins, retinol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, several minerals in bioavailable forms (e.g., iron and zinc), and a variety of bioactive compounds with health-improving potential (e.g., taurine, creatine, and carnosine).
- As a food matrix, meat is more than the sum of its individual nutrients. Moreover, within the diet matrix, it can serve as a keystone food in food-based dietary interventions to improve nutritional status, especially in regions that rely heavily on cereal staples.
- Efforts to lower global meat intake for environmental or other reasons beyond a critical threshold may hinder progress towards reducing undernutrition and the effects this has on both physical and cognitive outcomes, and thereby stifle economic development. This is particularly a concern for populations with increased needs and in regions where current meat intake levels are low, which is not only pertinent for the Global South but also of relevance in high-income countries.
In addition, animal-based foods have many unknown symbiotic elements that enhance their efficacy when consumed in the natural state. New information is always being discovered to show that we do not know what we thought we knew. One fact is that just one change in a single amino acid in a complex protein chain could cause significant changes in the way that protein affects the body. As an example, A1 casein in milk is inflammatory whereas A2 casein in milk is non-inflammatory in the human body. And there is only the difference of one amino acid in this protein.
The Case for Pastured Real Meat
It’s important for you to make decisions based on well-controlled research and medical studies. Here are a few for you to consider:
- The International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention (previously called the Paleomedicina Clinic) in Budapest, Hungary has been treating serious chronic diseases and cancers since 2011. They have treated over 6,000 sick patients with a strict animal-based diet with compelling results, which they have published in various medical publications. Go to their website and click on “Scientific Work and Articles”:
- In this 2021 study, there was no correlation with red meat and cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, a higher intake of processed meat was associated with a higher risk of mortality and CVD.
- Red meat has an inverse correlation with cardiovascular disease and cancer in this 2013 study.
- In this original 15-minute video, Brian Sanders explains the scientific reality of real meat, human health, and the benefits to the environment.
- Read this seminal paper published in 2021 by Miki Ben-Dor about the evolution of the human species over 2.5 million years which got us where we are today. Humans are the most intellectual and dominant animal on earth, and the authors’ story is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.
- Read this 2013 controlled study of Kenyan children who excelled in school when they ate animal-based foods and did poorly when they ate predominantly plant-based foods.
- Read the results of this 2022 study, which showed that total meat intake is positively associated with increased life expectancy. The study included an analysis of 175 contemporary populations.
- This 2022 study showed that animal-based foods improved the physical growth in 6 to 24-month-old children.
- For the first time, the 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) includes guidance for feeding infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months old. These evidence-based guidelines emphasize the vital role of foods rich in iron and zinc (including meat). Iron-rich red meat, such as beef and lamb, are ideal first foods to help meet an infant’s nutrient needs starting at approximately 6 months old.
- And this 2022 article explains the importance of introducing animal meat immediately following breastfeeding.
- In a 2021 paper, investigators looked at whether LDL-C (low density lipoprotein cholesterol) was related to survival prognosis based on 7 or 10 years of follow-up. The researchers showed there was an inverse relationship between LDL-C levels and the risk of all-cause mortality, and this association was statistically significant.
- This 2020 paper discusses the importance of meat and mental health.
- In an observational study published in 2022, women who were vegetarian were at a significantly greater risk of hip fractures than women who ate at least five servings of meat every week.
Momentum is pushing cultured meat to be on the main stage to feed the world. Yet, this manmade product is devoid of substances that have been depicted as being unhealthy. But animal fat and red meat are healthy. So, we must make our decisions based on accurate facts and not be persuaded with the economic and false statements being made by corporations and organizations with ulterior motives.
If you have questions, let me help you with the facts. I’m available for a free 30-minute consult if this works for you.
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