grounded in facts

With popularity, and when things start to shift, watch out for the affected to start to rebel.

Real meat alternatives have finally started to take off, and give real competition to the product they market themselves to be replacing. It was only a year ago that it would be difficult to find a Beyond Meat, or Impossible burger when either eating out or visiting the market. Now it’s almost ubiquitous. Our famous Canadian coffee shop Tim Hortons launched a Beyond Meat breakfast sausage earlier this year followed by the Beyond Burger. Burger King has launched the Impossible Whopper statewide and in Brazil, the largest country of meat consumers has launched what it calls the Rebel Whopper. Burger King has reported that launching the Impossible Whopper using the Impossible burger has resulted in increased sales not by only people replacing the meat patty with the Impossible burger but more so the increase is due to new customers. Burrito restaurants are using Beyond Meat ground to use in their vegetarian burritos and tacos. Carl’s Junior, known for its high meat content menu also offers the Beyond Meat burger.

So what does this mean? Lost sales for the meat industry. And not only a little bit of a loss but a substantial loss. For the first time, people are finding that they can enjoy a vegan burger that actually tastes like a burger. And the same for Beyond Meat’s vegan sausage and their other products. Gone are the dry, flavourless products having been replaced by juicy products that feel and taste like the product they have replaced.

With the substantial loss of sales companies are now trying through FUD, fear, uncertainty, doubt to gain back thier market share. I think, much like the tobacco industry years ago, the meat industry is following the same plan. Let’s look at part of a memo from the tobacco industry years ago when people started to worry about health consequences:

“Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

Lately I have found it difficult to not see an article or media post stating that Beyond Meat Burgers or Impossible Burgers may not be better for you than what it is they replace. High in salt and saturated fat than traditional burgers is what is being reported on. Articles with headlines such as ‘Plant based burgers may not be as healthy as you think‘ or ‘The Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat aren’t healthier‘ get people to think is it worth the extra money than buying an actual burger.

First, let’s keep in mind that burgers be it meat burgers or plant based burgers are processed foods. Unless you make a plant based burger yourself limiting the salt and saturated oil that you add it is processed food. Processed foods are traditionally high in salt and fats and the plant based meat alternatives are no exception. But they fail to report on a few main concerns with respect to eating processed meat; processed meat is a type one carcinogen:

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. And it has classified red meat as a probable carcinogen, something that probably causes cancer. IARC is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization.Oct 26, 2015″

Let’s put that into perspective. What are other type 1 carcinogens? Let’s take a look:

        • Asbestos
        • Tobacco
        • Formaldehyde
        • Plutonium

Iron from red meat is another issue. Known as heme iron, research has shown its impact on certain cancers:

“For both esophageal and stomach cancer, we observed significantly increased risk with high intake of red meat. High intake of heme and meat iron were associated with increased risk of esophageal and stomach cancers; whereas, iron intake from all foods was not associated with risk of these cancers.”

Knowing this, why would someone consume processed red meat, or red meat at all?

The problem is we don’t know this. This information is easier to find if you google for it and cut out the industry-funded studies but no one has time for that. Most of us get our news and information from podcasts full of bro science to the mainstream media that are basically corporations. News on the TV, media web sites, newspapers are mainly funded by advertising and they are not going to present stories that are contrary to the companies that are paying to advertise. Would you find it effective to advertise on a commercial break during a news show when they just did a piece on how your product is harmful? It wouldn’t be the best way to spend your advertising dollars, would it.


But in my opinion, we need to start making decisions that are good for us, but also good for the world we live in and the world we share with all living things. Processed foods should always be kept to a minimum. But when you do choose processed food make the right choice and choose a product that doesn’t cause the unnecessary suffering and killing of animals, a product that doesn’t contribute to climate change as much as animal farming does, a product that isn’t a type 1 carcinogen.

We need to make decisions that are grounded in logic, not illogical decisions that appeal to tradition, history, faith, etc. The greatest impact to your health is what you eat. Ask yourself this question, why is it that countries that follow a western diet have the highest rates of fatal diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and those countries that follow a whole foods plant based diet don’t.

I lost my dad to cancer. Instead of saying ‘F**k cancer’ and living the same lifestyle that promotes cancer, do something meaningful about it. There is a lot of information out there waiting for you to find it that will show you that diseases we have come accustom to can be avoided, or conquered by eating the right foods.

Yours in health,