The latest craze sweeping Personal Trainers in the Sydney CBD surrounds the Paleo Diet written by Dr. Loren Cordain. It seems logical enough - many diseases of modern man were not present in ancient times and many of the foods we now eat were not present in ancient times, therefore if we go back to an ancient or 'Paleo' diet we might just eradicate some of our diseases in the process, not to mention lose some weight.
Indeed, you will not find too many nutritionists or Personal Trainers in Sydney encouraging you to eat less veges or eat more processed foods. But what does concern me a new trend of advice promoting meat and nuts multiple times per day, including breakfast.
It is not merely a practical issue surrounding a meat and nut breakfast that makes me uneasy, although many people who work in the Sydney CBD might well struggle to prepare a meal of this nature before they rush off to work. I am more concerned about the numerous studies linking meat, and in particular red meat consumption to various health diseases.
A recent study which followed almost 40,000 people showed that one daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of mortality, and one daily serving of processed red meat (one hot dog or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 20 percent increased risk.
Now before a personal trainer Sydney CBD emails me a conspiracy laden explanation about why meat didn't really cause the increased mortality rates I would like everyone to take a deep breath and examine some more evidence.
A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who started eating more red meat than usual—about 3.5 servings more per week—had a 50% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next four years.
Still chewing on your T-bone?
Well, men who ate more than two red meat servings daily had a 28% higher stroke risk than those who ate about one-third of a serving each day. It should be noted that substituting red meat for chicken or fish reduced this stroke risk significantly.
In the interest of a balanced discussion let me point out that red meat is an amazing source of protein, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins (especially B1, B3, B6, and B12). For this reason I would never advise someone to stop red meat consumption - moderation is the key.