Don’t we all know someone who has ridden their bike through central London at rush hour without wearing a crash helmet after drinking eight pints of ale? Or someone who has tried a black ski run on their first ever day on the slopes? Or has decided to enter an ultra-marathon across a desert having done no training at all? The fact that they survived unscathed is a remarkable thing, and we wouldn’t recommend their choices to others.
It’s all about risk. Some people smoke all their lives and never get lung cancer, even though we know for certain that smoking causes this disease. Some people will eat meat and dairy all their lives without ever so much as looking at a piece of fruit and they will live to a ripe-old age. But we wouldn’t recommend you take that risk. Besides, your granddad might not eat as much meat as you think, he might not be in the greatest of health or he might just have a stash of luck that is not available to you.
Processed red meats such as bacon, sausages, salami and ham, cause cancer. Researchers know this beyond doubt and have classified them as Group 1 carcinogens, putting them in the same category as smoking and asbestos. All red meat is linked to heart disease while all meat is linked to diabetes. When millions of people suffer from food poisoning each year as a result of eating chicken and other animal products, you have to wonder if eating the stuff is a good idea. Most of those affected experience ‘just’ vomiting, cramping, diarrhoea and fever. For hundreds of others, these meat-borne bugs are fatal.
Plant-based foods by contrast have a protective effect on our health. They contain all the nutrients we need, and protect us from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension.
We’re happy that your granddad is doing so well. To increase your chances of living a long healthy life like him, the research is clear: eat plant-based foods.