We are told that red meat is carcinogen; fish and white meat are not. What make us not "compatible" to red meat after thousands of years of evolution and meat eating, and yet seafood is opposite ?

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    $\begingroup$ Compatible is not a biological term in this case. We're compatible with red meat, and all the other good stuff, because we can eat it, derive nutrition from it, and survive long enough to reproduce. That's all it takes to be a viable member of the biosphere. Also, please consider that the Sun is a carcinogen too. Being carcinogenic does not disqualify it from being consumed by humans. Think cigarettes and barbecue. $\endgroup$
    – S Pr
    Sep 5 '18 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Kenny - Please cite a reliable source that states red meat is a carcinogen. To my knowledge, it is not. What are co-carcinogens, though, are the products of grilling/frying/searing it over high heat. The same is true for grilling/frying/searing fish if there are any fat drippings (either from the fish, or from the sauce used to baste the fish. Since most fish isn't fatty, this is less of a risk.) Red meat can cause other problems, but a direct link $\endgroup$ Sep 5 '18 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en "Red meat was classified as Group 2A, probably carcinogenic to humans" (limited evidence), and the fact that several renowned doctors in France recommend some friends of mine to stop eating red meat while treating cancers. $\endgroup$
    – Kenny
    Sep 5 '18 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, but read meat IS a carcinogen that contributes significantly to colon cancer. Also, charred meat, as you mentioned, is a co-carcinogen. Kenny should not have to provide evidence for some of the minor details of his question. I have edited the question so that it makes more sense, but it seemed clear to me from the start. $\endgroup$
    – Karl Kjer
    Sep 5 '18 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Kenny: No. To use your example, we can deduce counting from observation. WRT "we are told", it seems that there should be an obvious difference between "told" meaning the (repeatable & testable) results of scientific studies, and someone making up claims because it fits their agenda. So where are the scientific studies showing that red meat causes cancer? Whereas a couple of minutes with Google finds studies like this one ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4691673 showing no overall difference between vegetarians & meat eaters. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Sep 6 '18 at 19:42

Interesting question that reveals a very common misconception about evolution. Evolution is not the same as optimization or advancement. It is about selection. Cancer and heart disease mostly kill people AFTER they have had their offspring. Selection does not generally act upon post-reproductives. So anything high in fat, calories and proteins would be likely to help humans survive starvation, and live to reproduce. We do not evolve to beat the diseases of old age, and our genes can be 10,000 years behind present optima. We don't evolve to be happy, live long lives, or be nice, unless these things help more of our offspring to survive.


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