All of you occasional meat eaters and vegetarians that have looked at me all squinty-eyed and puzzled when I tell you I write a column about meat – yeah, you – the ones that put your hands over your hearts looking all concerned, as if I’m about whap you on the head and then pump 16 ounces of market ground directly into your left ventricle. “Meat?” you ask, with an elitist wince, “like….meat? That you eat?” You guys can bite me.
According to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health, meat kicks ass and salt sucks.
That’s right, it’s not the meat that screws your heart up, regardless of the saturated fats involved, it’s the salt content in processed meats (I knew there would come a day that I’d feel better about not loving deli ham). According to the report, which pooled data from 20 studies around the world, just two lousy ounces of processed meat per day is associated with a 42% increase in the risk of heart desease, while twice as much red meat wasn’t linked to any increased risk at all (aside from a slightly elevated risk of diabetes that was considered statistically insignificant).
Oh, they’ve included a few caveats about saturated fats and calorie control, and they claim that these new findings don’t mean meat is a health food (which we know it is, of course) but the baseline information doesn’t change: it’s the mineral, not the animal. Oh, and it’s probably the nitrites, too.
None of this means that I won’t still eat processed meats occasionally (though I’ve never thought that 550 mg of salt per hot dog seemed reasonable). But now, all those people that act as if fatty cuts are for people too stupid to know better? I’ll just mention “the Harvard study that I guess you didn’t get a chance to read.”
So I get to act like a smug twelve-year-old and be right, two of my favorite things.