In his letter to the Sun Journal (Jan. 25), Sanders VanZandt equated meat eating with smoking. VanZandt needs to look past the scare headlines.

Decades of epidemiological studies on meat eating habits have made no effort to distinguish between fresh meat and processed meat products.

In the few studies addressing fresh meat alone, no link with degenerative disease has ever been found. Processed meats contain an array of chemical preservatives, many of which may, indeed, rival nicotine in toxicity.

Those meat studies are better interpreted to suggest we avoid processed meats rather than condemning all meats.

VanZandt asserts that the Surgeon General has placed package warnings on meat. That is not the case. What he probably noticed are informational listings of the saturated fat and cholesterol contents.

Contemporary nutrition research no longer demonizes those natural components of meat. Knee-jerk warnings against real meat are overdue for revision.

What beef does contain, in case the animal was pastured, is conjugated linoleic acid, a powerful anti-cancer agent found only in the fat of ruminants such as cows.

Joann Grohman, Carthage

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