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.
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.