UC ANR nutrition professor still eats the other white meat

Apr 21, 2009

Elena Conis of the Los Angeles Times "Nutrition Lab" was puzzled when pork, billed for years as "the other white meat," was lumped in with beef for a study that linked their high consumption to heart disease and death.

According to Conis' story, the pork industry adopted the white meat slogan after breeding leaner pigs in the 1970s. Scientists, however, generally consider "white" meat to be poultry and "red" meat to come from mammals because saturated fat is generally higher in mammal meat than in fowl.

"If this sounds really confusing, that's because it is," Conis quoted UC Davis nutrition professor Judy Stern. "Heck, I'm confused."

Authors of the new study, which was published in the March Archives of Internal Medicine, haven't nailed down the reason why a diet high in red and processed meats (including pork) was linked to a higher death risk, particularly from heart disease and cancer. They speculated that the association was due to high levels of saturated fat in meat generally, presence of cancer-causing compounds formed in meats cooked at high temperatures, or the fact that people who eat more meat may eat fewer fruits and vegetables, the article said.

Stern told the reporter that she'll still eat pork, but not every day. "Will this study change the way I eat pork? No," she was quoted.

The story also appeared on Newsday.com.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist