The meat of animals is composed primarily of muscle protein, which is made up of smaller subunits known as "amino acids." It also contains creatine, an important substance that muscles use for energy. As you know, protein and amino acids are essential to health, and so is creatine. However, when animal protein is cooked, especially at high heat, structural changes occur in the protein, amino acids, and creatine—changes that create dangerous new carcinogens. A study from Uruguay found that red-meat protein is associated with a 220 to 770 percent increased risk of breast cancer!
Saturated animal fats (a type of lipid) from red meat and dairy products are poisonous to your body. These lipids make the cells in your body more resistant to insulin. As a result, your insulin levels go up. High insulin levels are lethal. In fact, they are one of the biggest risk factors for breast cancer. Research shows that women with the highest insulin levels have a 283 percent greater risk of breast cancer.
Red meat is a storehouse of concentrated toxins including pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulators. In the United States, livestock are regularly fed and injected with growth hormones and stimulators to make them grow bigger and faster and to increase their production of milk. When a cow is injected with rBGH, its body produces large amounts of insulin-like growth factor–1 (IGF-1). At higher concentrations, IGF-1 is extremely dangerous because it becomes an extraordinarily potent stimulator of breast cancer. In fact, scientists believe it may be the most potent stimulator of breast cancer known. Women with the highest levels of IGF-1 in their bodies have a 700% increased risk of breast cancer! Eating conventionally raised beef and dairy products is the principal way that excessive amounts of IGF-1 get into your body.
When red meats are cooked at high temperatures, additional carcinogens known as "heterocyclic amines" are formed. These sinister molecules attack DNA, destroying its vital code in a way that seriously increases the risk of cancer. Frying and grilling are the methods of cooking that use the highest temperatures to cook meat, and they are associated with the highest risk of breast cancer. The higher the cooking temperature, the more carcinogenic heterocyclic amines form. How long you cook your meat makes a difference, too. The more well done your meat is, the more heterocyclic amines it will have, and the more carcinogenic it will be.
If you love the taste and texture of red meat, don’t think you have to give it up. The ever-growing and surprisingly delicious vegetable-based meat-substitute cuisine has come a long way. Even committed carnivores will find many of the meat mimickers to be a culinary delight. For instance, my rebellious teenager couldn't tell the difference between a Boca Burger (made with soy protein) and an actual hamburger! Also, some vegetarians (I, for one) think some meat substitutes taste too much like the real thing! If you do like the taste of meat, however, there are delicious substitutes for hamburgers, frankfurters, salami, lunchmeats, chicken, turkey, jerky—you name it. The next time you’re at your local health food store, experiment and give one a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Many chain grocery stores carry them, too. The list below shows some good substitutes for your old meaty favorites.
Research shows that the types of foods that support your health the most are fresh whole organic plants—fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. So try to favor these foods.