“Is meat really bad for you?”

Image retrieved from CC Google Images
Image retrieved from CC Google Images

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines have been a cause for controversy across the United States… and it’s because of red meat. Specifically, in the Executive Summary on page four, lines 115-117 the guideline states, “… a healthy dietary pattern is… lower in red and processed meat.”

Not only is it unhealthy for people, it is also hazardous to the environment. Jule Anne Henstenburg, the Director of the Nutrition Program at La Salle University, provided a myriad of facts claiming why red meat could be unhealthy for the planet.

Henstenburg, Director of La Salle's Nutrition Program
Henstenburg, Director of La Salle’s Nutrition Program

For example, Henstenburg said meat generates 18 percent of Greenhouse gases. To put that in perspective, 13 percent of Greenhouse gases comes from all of the world’s transportation. In addition, eating a burger is tied with the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest. Since burgers come from cows, cows get fed soy and soy gets grown in the Amazon Rainforest, trees are cut down to make room for soy.

Of course, meat companies and its employees were outraged. Henstenburg pointed out a begrudged cattle producer, who commented on the guidelines. He said, “Todays beef supply is leaner than ever before with more than 30 cuts of beef recognized as lean by the governments own standards.” The anonymous commenter continued, “the Advisory Committees report is misleading and contradictory of the governments own data as it states Americans diets should be lower in red meat.”

Members of the meat industry defending themselves goes back as far as 1998, when Oprah was sued for creating a “lynch mob mentality” on an episode of her show back in 1995.

Despite the positive image cattle producers try to paint in the minds of Americans, organizations such as the Cancer Research Fund has found strong evidence that links red meat to a higher risk of cancer.

While it may be healthier to minimize red meat from your diet, it may be too difficult for people who mostly depend on it for a food resource.

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“Is meat really bad for you?”

La Salle LGU students partner with several organizations to deliver food to those in need

La Salle University partnered with The Fresh Grocer of La Salle to help fund the 2015 Easter Food Drive. The drive helps feed families who do not have the means to consistently put food, especially healthy food, on the table. Here are some of the highlights of the event:

Click image to start slideshow
Click image to start slideshow
La Salle LGU students partner with several organizations to deliver food to those in need

Obesity in America: Is it nature or nurture?

Obesity is a growing problem in America. Across the United States, the percent of people who are obese based off of their Body Mass Index (BMI) has increased from a general range of 10-14 percent in 1990 to a range of to 20-30 percent as recently as 2010.

Obesity in America is an ongoing problem
Obesity in America is an ongoing problem

Some people who study obesity point to nature, or the intertwining of an obese person’s genetics or biologic determinants. As of 2013, there have been seven “new” genes that are looked at to be the probable cause of obesity in humans. However, it is not these seven genes alone that are THE cause of obesity. Scientists believe this is just a small piece to a larger puzzle.

On the other hand, others believe it to be nurture, or the environmental impact that raises the likelihood of a person to be obese. Specifically, the abundance of high-caloric foods plus the decline of physically active lifestyles are two common things scientists point to.

Perhaps there is no one factor. Perhaps it is a combination of both nature and nurture.

According to Dr. Edie Goldbacher of La Salle University, “for obesity, genetics load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger.”

In other words, a person with a family history of obesity COMBINED WITH a person living in a food desert, or an environment where there is little access to healthy food, may have a higher risk of developing weight difficulties.

“Genetics DO NOT cause obesity… there are very few situations where you have a specific gene, and if you have that gene then you check it and you say, ‘ok you’re definitely going to develop obesity.'”

Dr. Edie Goldbacher, La Salle University
Dr. Edie Goldbacher, La Salle University

As of now, there is still no direct correlation between obesity and its cause. Scientists continue to analyze both the nature and nurture aspects as obesity rates continues to grow, especially in America.

Obesity in America: Is it nature or nurture?