“A Lie can travel around the world before the Truth can get it’s pants on.” -Mark Twain
Thank you to both Gary & Dino and the Men’s Room for tipping me off to this: I had an entirely different topic to talk about this week, but 1. This needs to be addressed, as there are some important lessons in propaganda here, and 2. It’ll be easy, since I already covered a lot of this in other articles.
So if you remember a few years ago, there was this big story about the WHO declaring processed red meats in the same carcinogenic class as cigarettes, meaning they had the same risk factors for cancers. I won’t go into it too much here, but long story short: Not exactly the case, as even the WHO themselves said cured meats (such as bacon) had nowhere near the same carcinogenic effects (if any are to be found) as cigarettes, but of course everyone that hates anything that tastes good jumped on the “You might as well roll your bacon up and smoke it!” bandwagon.
The new one, from last week at the time of this writing, is that “Bacon causes mania/mental illness.” In short, the nitrates/nitrites generally used as preservatives in meats such as bacon, ham, salami, and jerky make you 3 times more likely times likely to express manic symptoms. we’ll dive into the language later, but short answer: No. To recap: the reason the nitrates issue usually comes up is because it can be transformed into a compound called nitrosamines, which is carcinogenic; nitrates themselves, as well as the other compound it turns into in the body is nitric oxide, are harmless at the worst. I’ll get into this in a second, but here’s one example, which I’ll give them credit for giving more of a larger picture on the matter:
To be clear, you can run the risk of getting nitrosamine compounds from cured meats, particularly if you overcook them (don’t burn your bacon!), but otherwise they’re a non issue for the reason that most reputable purveyors of cured meats add vitamin C, both as it’s own preservative qualities, but also to nullify nitrate’s ability to turn into nitrosamine. Furthermore, the most common source for nitrates used in cured meats is celery; the primary, if not only source of dietary nitrates are vegetables, particularly your healthy leafy green varieties. Keep this in mind; it will be very important later. Here’s the article that previously covered this:
Link: TheGoddaamnBacon.com/Bacon-Does-Not-Cause-Cancer (had to capitalize to make this formatable)
In this case, they’re saying that nitrates themselves, not the cancer causing compound, has effects in your intestinal system; particularly it affects your gut flora, which has been linked to some mental issues, as your gut flora does have many effects on the body, a lot of which are still not understood to this day. So if it were true that nitrates themselves were to blame, and you got them from cured meats, the logic would pan out. The problem, of course, is that nitrates generally only make up about 2% of whatever meat was cured at the most; remember that veggies are the biggest source, so if you’re going to go nuts and die of cancer, you’re far more likely to get it from the veggies on the kabob you burned on the grill, not the delicious meats you actually want to eat. (Side note: I do enjoy the recurring theme of this kind of thing focusing on the smallest issue rather than the largest; hallmark of a lazy activist.) With that in mind, let’s have a look at the study itself, brought to you from the fine folks at John Hopkin’s Medicine:
What I’ll be focusing on here will be the language, and I do encourage you to read the article above to follow along. So let’s have a look into what they’re saying, shall we! Here’s how they started the article (all highlights using parentheses are mine):
“An analysis of more than 1,000 people with and without psychiatric disorders has shown that nitrates—chemicals used to cure meats such as beef jerky, salami, hot dogs and other processed meat snacks—”may” contribute to mania, “an abnormal mood state”. Mania is “characterized by hyperactivity, euphoria and insomnia”.”
I’ll leave alone (for now) the fact that bacon wasn’t even mentioned, and the first meat product that every headline ran with; that is goddamn hilarious. back on topic: the first thing that stands out is the word “may”, a very subjective term right off the bat. Science, at least the kind that follows the scientific method, seeks to universalize cutting out as much subjectivity as possible given the available evidence, we’re already off to a bad start. Right there with it is the word “mania”, described as “an abnormal mood state”: they go into a definition for mania later in the article, but I find their leading one interesting, as you’d be hard pressed to define what counts for an abnormal mood state; does laughing at a funeral or being angry because you stubbed your toe count? The characterizations are worth noting here, as what counts as hyperactive, or euphoric; does the situation matter, such as if you were having hot sex in the back seat of someone’s car, or playing an active sport? While you’re working on those mental images, let’s continue:
“The findings of the Johns Hopkins Medicine study,”which was not designed to determine cause and effect”, were published July 18 in Molecular Psychiatry. Specifically, it found that people hospitalized for an episode of mania had more than three times the odds of “having ever eaten” nitrate-cured meats than people without a history of a serious psychiatric disorder.”
This is a very important part: “which was not designed to determine cause and effect”. In other words, it’s not science: determining cause and effect is a core tenet of problem solving, let alone the scientific method;. So we’re two paragraphs in, and they’re already admitting this is an opinion piece based on observational evidence at best. Also very telling is the measurement of the nitrate-cured meats: “having ever eaten”. So if you ever snapped into a Slim Jim, you count according to them. With that in mind, let’s get back to the term Mania:
“Mania, “a state of elevated mood, arousal and energy” that lasts weeks to months, is generally seen in people with bipolar disorder, but can also occur in those with schizoaffective disorder. Manic states “can lead to dangerous risk-taking behavior and can include delusional thinking”, and most of those affected experience multiple hospitalizations in the course of their psychiatric illness.”
So, ” A state off elevated mood, arousal and energy.” This is why I brought up fucking your way through some chick’s diaphragm in her back seat, since this describes that situation pretty well too. Have you ever had a state where you were aroused, had an elevated mood, or extra energy after chomping on some jerky 55 years ago? If so, congratulations: You’re the victim of nitrate induced mania! Sam goes for “risk-taking behavior”, which can include riveting girders at 100 stories for $500 an hour, and “delusional thinking” can include central planning and government programs, so on that point I think we can find common ground.
There’s more to tthis, but I’m not making this a 15,000 word article. Of note: They did run these experiments on rats in a fairly controlled environment. That’s usually a sign of a clinical study, and to be clear, they did a fair analysis. Only problem I can see here is that, looking at the normal rodent’s diet including rats: they’re omnivores when necessary, but their main diet is grains and berries. Feeding them beef jerky for weeks, and not expecting a different result in doing so, is lunacy, and even if you added nitrates to the normal rat chow and got a different result, you have to ignore,once again, that you get far more nitrates from veggies rather than from bacon, in order to demonize bacon and not kale, which leads into my next point:
Religion:Not just restrained to deities! Dietetics plays an important role is anyone’s everyday life, and therefore is important to any movement; you cannot fight well on an empty stomach. Did John Hopkin’s put this out in order to give misinformation that will lead to the malnourishment of your children? Doesn’t look like it: as it was stated before, they said upfront they didn’t intend for this to show a cause or effect of anything. But the people that are hell bent on destroying what gives life worth living have, and they have in the way of saying “BACON CAUSES MANIA!!!!!1!!ONE!!!”, when bacon was never even mentioned in the original article. You want a good look at what propaganda looks like? Look at how this study was covered.
And that’s the important part of this discussion, which is how to see what lying for a narrative looks like. Bacon was demonized because of a study that didn’t mention it even once, on scientific data that has been debunked several times over, a few of which were by yours truly, and then the study was bastardized and then read as such by Miles Montgomery and Gary Zebransky off of other websites. Which means they aren’t relying on you to be rational viewers of this narrative, rather irrational beings that need a viewpoint to look for, along with an enemy to attack. Let me be very clear: I don’t really care what you eat, or if you like bacon or not. But, if you do, and given the evidence, is this something you’re really willing to give up?
Picture Credit: https://www.123rf.com/photo_15704385_vector-illustration-of-a-fist-holding-bacon-in-the-style-of-russian-constructivist-propaganda-poster.html