Harald zur Hausen is a towering figure in the world of cancer research, being that he was the first scientist to link cervical cancer to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and has produced other groundbreaking research on the subject. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2008, so when he talks about cancer, people listen–this guy ain't no Coast to Coast A.M. quack.
Which makes his current theory–presented at the Lindau Nobel Laureate gathering, which includes more than twenty former winners in the field of physiology or medicine–so disturbing: zur Hausan thinks colon cancer is caused by a pathogen transmitted almost exclusively by eating beef. And he also thinks we haven't yet found it.
Scientific American has a recap of the laureate's comments, in which he notes that countries that have experienced a rise in colon cancers happen as they experience a rise in beef consumption. And it's beef that's the culprit, he adds: in countries that eat red meat but prefer mutton or goat, rates are still relatively low. And countries where white meat or seafood is the preferred animal? Almost negligible compared to beef countries.
Zur Hausen thinks it's because we still cook beef too low–“papillomavirus, polyvirus and single strand DNA viruses can endure a roasting at 80 degrees Celsuis for 30 minutes,” the reporter noted. Thank God I love my steak burnt to a crisp ala carne asada…and, if this theory proves correct, just another reason to switch over to goat.
Watch zur Hauser below:
Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook!