It was only a matter of time before we saw a study that claims barbecue leads to cancer. That’s the news out of the journal Cancer this week, which featured a study that concluded meat charred or grilled over a high temperature, be it red or white, is linked to a higher risk of kidney cancer.
This news comes on the heels of the World Health Organization’s report last month that red meat and processed meats — like bacon, hot dogs and sausages — contain carcinogens that can cause cancer, particularly colorectal cancer.
While digesting this news, I came across a tweet from Bud Kennedy, columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that made me wonder if barbecue really is unhealthy for you.
— Bud Kennedy (@EatsBeat) October 27, 2015
As Kennedy mentioned, Lockhart, located in Caldwell County, is “The BBQ Capital of Texas”. The town has four renowned institutions of meat: Black’s, Kreuz Market, Chisolm Trail and Smitty’s, all of which both locals and tourists regularly patronize. The bottom line: a lot of barbecue gets eaten in Lockhart.
Now, for a small town that has so much delicious, apparently cancer-causing meat, the cancer death rates there are surprisingly low, even below the national average.
Of the total 825 reported cancer cases in Caldwell County between 2008-2012, only 45 were kidney related. 83 were related to colon cancer. Texas as a whole has a lower cancer rate than most states in the U.S.
I’m not discrediting the report or the WHO’s study, but these are interesting statistics to note, considering Texans do eat a lot of barbecue and grilled meat.
It’s also worth noting that a 105-year-old Texas woman, who died last year, said bacon helped keep her alive. The science behind that is, well, non-existent, but eating bacon probably made her happy every day, and happiness goes a long way in keeping you spry. Although, I don’t condone eating a lot of bacon every day, as that would make you the opposite of spry.
Also, consider 109-year-old Richard Overton, our nation’s oldest living veteran and an Austin resident, who says he smokes 12 Tampa Sweet cigars a day, regularly drinks whiskey and enjoys eating cheeseburgers.
I’m not advocating smoking like a chimney and stuffing your face with bacon and meat all the time; however, when news about the latest cancer-causing food hits the Web, I do think you should take it with a grain of salt.
It should also remind us to eat in moderation. When it comes to eating red meat, hot dogs and bacon — God’s delicious gift to his meat-eating children – keep it balanced. Just remember to eat your fruits and veggies. And, no, the creamed corn and fried okra don’t count.