New European Study Confirms English Cooking Is Still Bad

Seth Victor

Though the title of this post is a bit hyperbolic in invoking the classic stereotype about English foodEnglish Breakfast, a new study posted in BMC Medicine confirms that processed meat, such as that found in the classic English Breakfast pictured to the right,  increases the risk of premature death. The study evaluated “448,568 men and women without prevalent cancer, stroke, or myocardial infarction, and with complete information on diet, smoking, physical activity and body mass index, who were between 35 and 69 years old.”  You can read the abstract here. One of the takeaways is that “if everyone in the study consumed no more than 20g of processed meat a day then 3% of the premature deaths could have been prevented.”

It’s important to note that the study mainly condemns “processed meats,” which the article defines as “meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages. Hamburgers and minced meats only count as processed meat if they have been preserved with salt or chemical additives.” So meat that has to be treated to travel distances, or that is coming off an assembly line, is what you need avoid. Which is to say, avoid CAFOs, and cut back on the chicken.

Whether this will have an impact on lifestyles is suspect. A quick review of some of the comments at the end of the article confirm that, more than anything, telling people what they can and can’t eat is a polarizing endeavour. Either you preach to the choir, or incite resentment. As one commentator put it, “I have never understood why they try to scare us about the food we eat. If it is bad or poisonous for us why is it sold in the first place?” Indeed.

One Response

  1. “Processed” is the key term here. Processed anything — including foods based in fruits, vegetables and grains — is going to be bad for you.

    Homo sapiens evolved as an opportunistic omnivore. But industrialized, corporate society has all but completely severed us from any direct connection with hunting/gathering/pastoral farming, and holistic foods.

    Localization, local cooperatives and increased self-sufficency are a must, I think.

    Those of us who live in rural locales still have the advantage of being able to hunt for our own meat. Or, at least, buy meat and eggs directly from small, pastoral family farms and ranches. Those who choose not to eat meat, can likewise still garden, or buy their produce from similar small, local farms.

    Still, even in the cities, such things as “vertical gardening” offer options.

    At any rate, mass-produced, manufactured food isn’t good for us, or the environment.

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