protein causes cancer (2)The new fad study circulating the internet is said to conclude that a diet high in animal protein causes cancer.  Certain news outlets claim that the threat is as significant as smoking.  Let’s take a deeper look into these claims and the details of this study.

The study was conducted by the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology.  For 20 years they followed 6,318 adults of various medical histories and ethnicity.  Their study is said to concluded that the individuals who ate a diet high in animal protein have  a much higher risk of developing cancer.  The study also makes the claim that the high protein intake is the reason behind a 74% increase of untimely death from any cause.

Sounds alarming, but is it?

Here are some things to consider

  • How active are these middle aged people?
  • What do these middle aged people do for a living?
  • What else are these people eating?

Most middle aged individuals are overweight, inactive, have high levels of stress and work at jobs where they sit all day.  All of these factors also cause an increased risk of cancer and death, but none of these factors are taken into consideration in the study or in any of the news articles.

Jason Blaha illustrates a lot of these point beautifully in a video that he recently posted on his Juggernaut Fitness Channel.

He discusses the fact that there may be correlation but there is no causation demonstrated in this study.  To understand the difference he explains that there is a correlation between families who have fewer kitchen appliances and an increased rate of teen pregnancy.  Obviously having less kitchen appliances doesn’t cause the rate of teen pregnancy to increase, but socioeconomic status sure does.  So lower socioeconomic status is the cause of both having fewer kitchen appliances and an increase in the rate of teen pregnancy.  Because both of these facts share the same cause, they also share correlation.

Check out the video below for more on this topic

So should this study be of concern for you?

It’s too early to tell.  The data presented doesn’t show causation but I cannot deny the fact that this is something that needs to be studied further.

If I were to make an educated guess, I would think that the real culprit is a combination of inactivity, obesity, and a diet lacking fruits, vegetables and fiber.

The real lesson to take from this is that media will flip and skew things to grab your attention, get web traffic, and make money off of you.  Sadly, it is the society we live in.  They will use scare tactics to try to engage viewers.  They will also use slanted journalism and at times flat out lie to you to get you to do what they want.

As consumers, viewers, and readers we always need to analyze and scrutinize what we are presented with.  Never simply believe anything to be fact just because someone told you so.   We need to think on a deeper level and understand the points that are presented to us.  Never blindly follow, be a free thinker, and always ask questions.

You will be a better, more educated person for it!

Image courtesy of amenic181 /