Is red meat bad? (Part II – IGF-1, risk of cancer and more)

Is meat bad for you

Let’s continue our discussion that we started in Part I and see if there really is any association between meat and cancer.

It’s different if you already have a pathology

It is often implied that high-protein diet causes damage to your kidneys by “overloading” them with nitrogen by-products of protein digestion (that they naturally metabolise and excrete) – but as a healthy individual, you will have difficulty overconsuming protein, since your body has natural regulatory mechanisms that drive the desire for protein-containing foods.  So you are unlikely to ever eat too much.

But is it correct to say that eating any amount will put a strain on your kidneys?  Should you specifically reduce protein consumption to avoid damaging them?

The answer is – very unlikely.  If you already have a kidney disease – increased protein consumption can definitely contribute to their pathology.  But if you are healthy – you probably don’t have anything to worry about (read this article by Chris Kesser).


Meat contains a complex array of several amino acids.  One of these amino acids is methionine – and recent studies have suggested that it’s this specific amino acid that may be responsible for increased oxidative stress and the ultimate link between meat, IGF-1 (see below) and cancer.

If you recall our discussion on organ meats – you will remember that methionine is balanced by glycine – another amino acid contained in large amount in bone broth, gelatin and organ meats – which helps your body metabolize and neutralize potential harmful effects of methionine. What follows is that if you balance your intake of methionine with your intake of glycine (by consuming collagen/gelatin, organ meats, bone broth, etc.) – potential harmful effects of overconsuming muscle meat can be greatly reduced.

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How to build muscle – the right way (Part I – Rest, Recovery and Nutrition)

Most of the time, women’s fitness and athletic goals do not involve gaining muscle. If anything, becoming “bulky” and “too muscular” remains the biggest and largely unfounded fear that, sadly,  stops most women from touching heavy weights and leads to compromises with cardio and safe and “female-friendly” exercise machines, instead.   Nevertheless, the principles described in this article are equally applicable to women, although they will not result in significant muscle growth because of the lack of sufficient testosterone in females with normal hormonal balance.  Testosterone plays a key role in muscle growth and, while most women still have this hormone in their system, the levels are not nearly comparable to the levels usually present in males.  That said – what is discussed here would still help women get better muscle tone, definition and strength, while reducing fat storage – so, while “building muscle” is the central theme of this article, most of it is still valid for all the ladies out there in the context of just getting in better shape.

Men of most ages and all generations, on the other hand, have been asking themselves this question – how do I gain more lean muscle?  Shredded physiques displayed on covers of glossy magazines and Hollywood actors demonstrating seemingly impossible physical transformations in what seems to be only a few months blow the minds of striving fitness enthusiasts – both young and mature – who want to achieve the same.  We will discuss a few major principles, debunk myths and cover important tips on how to add and keep more muscle mass.

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The Ultimate Guide to Eating Better Meat – Part II

(Continued from Part I – Buyer’s Guide)

Part II – Food safety, poisoning, and how to cook meat the right way



The risks of food poisoning due to improper cooking – especially for certain susceptible groups of people – are real and consumption of undercooked food may lead to serious illness or, certain cases, death. This article does not constitute and is not intended to be used as medical, microbiological, or any other advice.  While the topics discussed in this article appear to have been researched and supported by various scientific sources, make sure you understand them and thoroughly research this topic further, prior to making any changes in your dietary habits.  Due to many variables affecting the risk of contamination, the author of this article does not guarantee that following the recommendations in this article completely eliminate the risk of food poisoning. Further, the author does not accept any responsibility for any health issues that may result from following the advice presented in this article.

Meat usually requires some sort of preparation to lower one (or all) of the following potential risks:

  • Parasitic worms
  • Viral infection
  • Plasmids
  • Prions
  • Bacterial contamination
  • Protist infection

Of all these, viral infection (led by Norovirus) remains the most prevalent in terms of the number of cases (according to estimates made in 1999 by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), but these cases are usually mild and, while being responsible for about 68% of all food-related illnesses, the related death rate remains at about 7%. Even though illnesses attributed to protists amount to only about 3%, the death rate is about 20%, while bacteria, responsible for about 30% of all food poisoning are responsible for about 72% of fatalities.  These statistics make bacteria the highest-risk microorganism that may cause foodborne illnesses.  So we will make bacteria the center of our discussion.

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