Dr. Friedman’s Health Blog

Lab-Grown Meat: What You Need to Know Before Lighting Up The Grill

By: Dr. David Friedman

Imagine eating a juicy steak that was produced using sustainable, environmentally friendly methods, without killing or harming animals and no concerns about antibiotics or growth hormones.  No, I’m not referring to the popular plant-based substitutes Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods. This is genuine animal meat grown by scientists in a lab!  This new technology has been financially backed by billionaire investors including Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and  Kimball Musk (Elon Musk's brother,) and is positioned to dominate the market by 2022.

Unlike traditional beef production, these petri-dish created burgers, and steaks cause no harm or pain to animals.  Scientists use stem cells or skin cells that are extracted using a minor and painless procedure to grow the meat product. Just one tiny stem cell sample can produce enough tissue to make 80,000 quarter-pound hamburgers!  Scientists are touting the health benefits of lab-grown meat because it gives them full control over the composition of fat, vitamins, and minerals. They can increase the meat’s heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid content and decrease the saturated fat, which contributes to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The shift to lab-created meat would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of water and land by over 95%! In addition, eating lab-grown meat would eliminate concerns about getting listeriaE. coli, or campylobacter infections.

Lab beef doesn't require the need for antibiotics and growth hormones, which have been linked to many diseases including cancer. Instead of seeing organic “grass-fed” on the label, you may see “glass-fed" beef.   This glass petri dish concocted meat sure sounds like a win-win for everyone (except the cattle farmers.)  As for me, I won’t be a customer!   Lab-grown meat is FAKE FOOD! When chemists play God by creating counterfeit franken-food, they aren’t able to duplicate compounds found naturally in food.  Scientists may be able to trick people's eyes and satisfy their taste buds, but they can’t fool Mother Nature!  There are nutrients and cofactors naturally found in fruits, veggies, grains, and meat that scientists cannot create in a lab.  Our food contains endless compounds that researchers have yet to discover and even when they do, they still won’t be able to duplicate them. I devote an entire chapter on this topic in my #1 best-selling book Food Sanity, How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction.  

Let’s look at vitamin C as an example. Citrus fruits and vegetables like bell peppers, dark leafy greens, and broccoli contain naturally derived vitamin C. They also contain synergistic phytochemicals (plant chemicals,)  bioflavonoids, rutin, vitamin K complex, and tyrosinase; all-natural components needed for the body to fully assimilate vitamin C.   When you look at vitamin C supplements (ascorbic acid,) created by chemists, they don't contain these vital naturally derived synergistic cofactors. In fact, synthetic vitamins created in a lab may actually be a health risk and contribute to disease!  Do you really think eating synthetic animal meat created by chemists in a lab will be healthy and safe for human consumption?  There are no studies showing that the protein found in artificially grown meat is comparable to that of organic meat derived from nature. Lab geeks are going beyond just creating synthetic beef! Scientists have also used stem cells to create chickenporksausage, and bacon in a lab.   Even “petri-dish caught”  fish is now available.    

While I do embrace the cruelty-free, environmentally friendly, and sustainability aspect of petri-dish created food,  there has not been enough research regarding the long term safety or health benefits of food that has been created in a lab using stem cells.  Whatever you want to call it-- fake meat, synthetic meat, test-tube meat, slaughter-free, franken-meat,– nothing compares to REAL food from nature.


About the Author

Dr. David Friedman is the author of the award-winning, #1 national best-selling book Food Sanity, How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction. He's a  Doctor of Naturopathy, Chiropractic Neurologist, Clinical Nutritionist, Board Certified Alternative Medical Practitioner, and Board Certified in Integrative Medicine.  Dr. Friedman is a syndicated television health expert and host of To Your Good Health Radio, which has changed the face of talk radio by incorporating entertainment, shock value, and solutions to everyday health and wellness issues.

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