This great question just came up on the CSF Forum:
“So I found this interesting article on CNN this morning. I know CSF supports eating meat because of protein and that the way we cook it is what makes the meat more dangerous to our health. Why don’t these studies say the same?” (i.e., why do they say red meat is dangerous?)
And here was my answer:
Good question! First, I would stay away from any and all nutrition reporting in the mainstream media. They almost always mis-read studies, and jump to all kinds of conclusions that the data don’t support.
Radicalism gets more attention, which sells more ad space, right?
So the incentive is against balanced, even-headed reporting. Not good.
Also, most journalists lack the nutritional knowledge and even knowledge of how to critically read scientific studies in general, to make useful assessments of them. Result? Junk!
Good nutrition sources are things like Whole Health Source, Ray Peat, etc., though everyone will disagree on some things. Generally, independent health researchers who also blog are more to be trusted IMO.
If you look at page 7 of the actual study, you’ll see that diets high in red meat were actually the LEAST powerful factor in worsened health outcomes. All the other factors they looked at mattered more. So red meat? Not a big deal, according to this study.
Also, they bizarrely formatted their questions… for instance, they looked at the negative impacts of diets that are “low in polyunsaturated fats” – that’s just insane. Why did they not also look at the negative impacts of diets “HIGH in polyusaturated fats”? That would be much more likely to cause negative health impacts, due to the toxic nature of lipid peroxides derived from PUFA.
Most nutrition studies just are done in really weird ways that don’t make sense to me, and make the results almost meaningless much of the time.
It’s not that hard to figure out what to eat to be healthy and acne-free – we just need to look at people who are ACTUALLY HEALTHY (i.e. who have NOT transitioned to modern crap factory food), and study what they eat, and then derive basic principles.
Weston A. Price did this in the 1930s and wrote a giant book about it. What did he find? (I’m paraphrasing here, and poorly so, from memory, so just read this for the gist of it):
- The Gaels ate lots of oats, seaweed, shellfish, crab, lobster, etc. and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
- The Maasai ate lots of red meat, blood, and milk, and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
- The Kitavans ate lots of root vegetables, some fish, and coconuts, IIRC, and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
- The Hadza ate lots of honey, wild game, and other stuff I don’t remember and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
- The Swiss ate lots of milk, cheese, and sourdough whole-grain bread made from einkorn and rye, and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
Things to remember though, about all these diets….
- All food was grown organically back then
- Zero vegetable oil consumed (wasn’t invented until WWII)
- Zero fluoride in the water, and zero pesticides on the food
- High mineral density in the soil, and the wild nature, that produced the food (no Green Revolution in these places yet)
- All animals predominantly pasture-raised or wild
- All seafood wild-caught, in oceans that weren’t yet filled with toxins
- Zero added sugar (not available yet)
- Zero added iron, B vitamins, or other synthetic nutri-junk
- All grains consumed in whole-grain form
- Traditional soaking, sprouting, and fermenting techniques widely used on grains and legumes
- Zero EMFs (for the most part – radio was rolled out in late 1910’s, but still nothing like widespread EMF exposure today)
- A healthy natural environment, with nothing like the 80,000+ chemicals leaked everywhere that we’re now dealing with
Worth nothing is that many of these cultures Price looked at got SUPER unhealthy when they started eating manufactured white flour, sugar, and other junk, which replaced their ancestral foods. Western imperialism at its best!
At this point, I would not trust any nutritional studies, hardly at all. They’re almost all useless in my opinion. Much better to use reasoning and anthropological study like Price did. Study people who are getting good results, and replicate what they’re doing (using your own locally available high-quality foods).
One additional wrinkle with meat that most studies don’t take into account, besides cooking method creating carcinogens, is that EMFs make iron more toxic in the body. So you’d have to ALSO factor in EMF exposure into the study.
Hope this helps!
To translate this into modern terms, all you really have to do is shop at your farmer’s market and buy from farmers who don’t use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, but who instead rebuild soil and work with nature to grow healthy food. Failing that, buy organic, and avoid all vegetable oil and processed foods, drink fluoride-free water, and you’ll be golden. Well, you’ll be well on the way at least.
There are many other acne triggers that are usually necessary to fix, and real life hidden triggers that crop up everywhere, which is what our master guide is all about. 🙂