The Grinch, the WHO, Red Meat and Cancer: A Holiday Poem

roast beast dinner

WHO links red meat and cancer?

In October 2015, twenty-two scientists from ten countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to evaluate the link between processed and red meat and cancer. The result was a highly-publicized press release by the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring processed meat as "carcinogenic to humans" and red meat as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

I went over the WHO report with a fine-tooth comb and can confidently reassure you that there is absolutely no proof that meat of any kind causes cancer in humans or animals. I have posted my complete analysis of the WHO report here if you are interested. But since I'm sure most of you are too busy preparing for your gatherings to dive into that at the moment, in the spirit of this joyous holiday season, I offer you this festive little appetizer, if you will. A poem inspired by the beloved story How the Grinch Stole Christmas by the incomparable Dr. Seuss. And so, without further ado, I give you:

The Grinch, The WHO, Roast Beast & You

Folks the world over liked red meat a lot
But the cancer committee in WHO-Ville did not.
“Those vouching for meat should be guilty of treason!”
(Please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason)
It may be the way that it’s processed or fried
Or the fact that it has so much iron inside
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that WHO brains were two sizes too small.

Staring down from their towers with judgemental frowns
At healthy meat-eaters below in their towns
Feasting on pork chops and luscious roast beast
(Roast beast is a feast WHO can’t stand in the least)
The WHO hated all meats—especially from cow
“We’ve got to stop red meat from coming, but how?”

Then they got an idea! An awful idea
The WHO got a wonderful, awful idea
“We know just what we’ll do!” the WHO snickered one day,
“We’ll shout meat causes cancer, and scare meat away!”
All we need is some data! The WHO looked around,
But good data is scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the WHO? That did not trip them up
“We don't need solid science, we’ll make some stuff up!”

They puzzled and puzzed till their puzzlers were sore
Then the WHO thought of something they thought we’d fall for
More than 800 studies they stuffed in a sack
“With numbers this big, they won’t dare to attack!”
But they based their conclusions on just twenty-nine
Fifteen of which showed that red meat was just fine!

But these studies weren’t studies at all, it turned out
They were basically guesses that weren’t tested out
They thought they could fool folks like you and like me
“Correlation’s causation!” WHO shouted with glee.

Then three or four studies of rats they tossed in
(Rats pre-injected with carcinogen!!!)
They left out the ones showing red meat is good,
Hoping no one would notice (but you knew I would).

And three human studies they threw in there, too
But these studies were poorly designed (sad but true)
WHO dares condemn meat based on numbers so wee?
Three human studies—the audacity!

Maybe beef, pork and lamb are no cause for alarm
Maybe red meat, in fact, doesn’t cause any harm
It’s got protein and iron and vitamins too
The truth is that red meat is healthy for you!

This holiday season I hope you won’t fear
What the WHO said about meat—the facts are not there!
May you all enjoy time with your families and feast
On healthy whole foods and delicious roast beast:)

For more information about how the WHO
Tried to hoodwink good folks just like me and like you
You can read what's behind all the hype and the fear
I’ve posted the details in blog form right here!

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