Red Meat, Licorice and Booze – It's all the news

by DavalosMcCormack on March 27, 2009

I grew up in a house where if there wasn’t meat on the plate you didn’t consider it a meal. Everything from breakfast to supper usually contained some form of meat – though it was England which means many of them were so heavily boiled/roasted/grilled that they were indistinguishable from each other.

But now it turns out that instead of helping me build up strong bones and muscles I was actually hastening my demise!

A study in the March 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine says that people who eat more red meat or processed meats have an increased risk of death from all causes, and an increased risk of dying from cancer or heart disease.

Suddenly that steak sandwich isn’t so appealing.

But I could always just switch to pork or chicken, because the study also found that eating ‘white’ meat appears to carry with it a slightly reduced risk of overall death.

So, when they say “eat more red meat etc” just how much is more? Well, the figure they use for the heaviest consumers of flesh is 62.5 grams per 1,000 calories. So that makes it clear right? OK, I’ll translate. Basically if you eat around four ounces of meat a day – that’s roughly the size of a small hamburger – you increases your odds of dying over the next ten years by about 30 percent.

Now if you are ten years old your odds are so low that 30 percent isn’t much. But the older you get, the bigger that number looms.

So enjoy that next beef casserole. It could be your last!!!

Licorice and your Liver

It’s well known that some seemingly innocuous things can interfere with some life-saving medications. For instance, drinking grapefruit juice can interact with some cholesterol-lowering medications, boosting levels of the drug in the blood stream.

Now it turns out that licorice might do the same for people who have undergone an organ transplant.

Researchers in Taiwan say an ingredient in licorice can block the absorption of the drug cyclosporine. This medication is widely used by people who have undergone organ transplantation, to prevent their body rejecting the new organ.

Now you might think that’s easy, just stop taking licorice. But it’s also found in many foods and herbal remedies so you might be taking it without even being aware.

It’s a reminder that if you are taking any medication, for anything, you need to be aware that other parts of your diet might be interfering with its effectiveness. It may make the drug a lot more powerful, or a lot less.

Either way it’s not good news. So, pay attention, read up on whatever you should be doing to get the maximum out of your medications.

Problem drinkers are most at risk for… er.. problem drinking!

Here’s one of those studies that have you wondering, “how the heck did they ever get funding for that one?”

A study in the Journal of College Student Development found that college students who are problem drinkers and use alcohol to cover up shyness, insecurity or to boost their self-confidence are – and I hope you are sitting down for this – more likely to be problem drinkers when they get older.

No!!! So, let me get this straight. People who drink too much now are more likely to drink too much later. Amazing.

I’ll drink to that.


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