Strengthening our motivation: Health

Strengthening our motivation: Health

Vegan Society of Canada News
June 28th 2018

In our series aimed at strengthening our motivation we will start with health reasons: Going vegan is the 2nd best thing someone can do to prevent cancer after not smoking.

Horizontal bar graph of preventable cancer cases by prevention method showing not smoking being the highest followed by following a vegan lifestyle
The data is extrapolated from the Cancer Research UK 2011 number of preventable cancers as they are the latest data, readily available, and presumably typical of a developed country.

When IARC announced in 2015 that processed meat was a level 1 carcinogenic many organizations rushed to downplay the seriousness of this by contrasting it to smoking. It is unethical to continue the advertisement for human consumption of level 1 carcinogenic broadly and openly while hundred of thousands will die and society will have the bear the burden of this, add that to all the other issues with animal agriculture and allowing such advertisement is foolish. We don’t have to wait decades to repeat the tobacco, asbestos, lead fiasco of the past with processed meat and we should take action now so millions do not have to suffer and die. It is true that while the impact of meat consumption is certainly much less then smoking on human health it is nonetheless serious with colorectal cancer cases predicted to be around 2.4 million cases every year by 2035 and the consensus indicate that about 21% is due to meat consumption, or at least 504 000 people per year will be diagnosed with cancer because of meat consumption. This does not count the cases of cancer linked with meat consumption like rectal cancer, pancreas, and prostate. Unfortunately, major health organizations seem unwilling to make their recommendation clear. Their own research points to dietary factors as the 2nd largest preventable cause after not smoking but they refuse to connect the dots, instead they opt to split all those factor individually almost to the point of counting the preventable case of cancer for carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, etc… separately. In other instance they do indeed aggregate factors together to translate this into a meaningful and clear recommendation, but for dietary factors they choose instead to advise people to eat less meat, more fruits and vegetables, more fiber, and less salt. There is a lifestyle factor and philosophy that result in all this and it is called veganism, or a balanced 100% plant based diet. The American Cancer Society 2017 Cancer Facts almost recommend going vegetarian but falls short saying instead

“Until more is known, the best advice is to consume a mostly plant-based diet that limits red and processed meats and emphasizes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains”

Just like most carcinogenic substance the risk increase with usage, and the IARC study was clear on the question of how much meat is safe to eat

“The risk increases with the amount of meat consumed, but the data available for evaluation did not permit a conclusion about whether a safe level exists.”

It is unethical to recommend eating less meat until we know more if a safe level exists. Until then recommending not to eat red and processed meat consumption is the responsible thing to do, it would be like recommending smoking less instead of not smoking. Various organization are advocating for not smoking instead of smoking less since there is also no safe smoking amount, of course smoking less is better then smoking more but not smoking is the best, similarly until we know for certain if there is a safe level of meat consumption advocating for consuming less meat instead of no meat is irresponsible. We can only speculate as to why such irresponsible recommendation are issued.

Unfortunately, it now seems many large charitable health organization are unable to fulfilled their mission truly independently. In all fairness dairy, eggs, white meat and fish are not included in the list of carcinogenic substance but with the mounting evidence of dairy being linked to cancer, the fact that even the USDA know that eggs cannot be advertised as healthy, the mercury and micro plastic in seafood, overuse of antibiotics and cruelty of factory farming, and for many other non health related reasons we could not in good conscience recommend a vegetarian diet. Therefore, save and simplify your life and those of countless other animals, fight climate change, the overuse of antibiotics, deforestation and many other issues being going Vegan. Join one of our local community in your area or contact us for help on how to get started.


Web content: American Cancer Society Cancer Facts And Figures 2017,, Accessed July 2017

Web content: NutritionFacts,, Accessed July 2017

Web content: Cancer Research UK,, Accessed July 2017.

Web content: World Cancer Research Fund International,, Accessed July 2017

Web content: IARC Monographs Q&A,, Accessed July 2017

Web content: Risk of overweight and obesity among semivegetarian, lactovegetarian, and vegan women,, Accessed July 2017

Web content: What The Health Research Facts,, Accessed July 2017

Web content: Microplastics in seafood could be a health risk, expert fears,, Accessed July 2017

Web content: Mercury in Fish, Seafood may be linked to higher risk of ALS,, Accessed July 2017

Related articles

Don’t get cracking: How egg lobbies skew research
September 23rd 2020
Methionine: A double-edged sword
April 18th 2022
The dairy and breast cancer connection
April 14th 2020
Coronavirus mutation in Danish minks
December 4th 2020
Slaughterhouses and COVID-19
September 11th 2020