1. The secret ingredient in pork

    Chops, roast, ribs, sausage, bacon...

    I'm getting hungry just thinking about all the great ways to eat pork. But there's one form of pig that makes me lose my appetite every time -- and it's exactly what people eat the most of: pork from factory farms.

    Factory farmed animals are raised and slaughtered in filthy conditions, which is one reason for all the contaminated meat scares in recent years. And, of course, the only reason the animals themselves don't drop dead is because they're pumped full of antibiotics -- drugs that often end up in your meat.

    But there's one more reason to skip out on this stuff: Factory pork contains a drug so dangerous it's been killing pigs like crazy.

    Ractopamine hydrochloride is a beta agonist that mimics stress hormones. It leads to bigger pigs -- but it also leads to deader pigs: Some 218,000 have been killed by the drug in a little more than a decade.

    That number should be even higher, except plenty of pigs about to drop dead of ractopamine overdose -- including pigs so sick they can't even walk on their own -- are quickly slaughtered first.

    And then, they're shipped off to your local supermarket...despite the fact that low doses of the drug can remain in the meat.

    The feds aren't too concerned. They claim a little ractopamine hydrochloride never hurt anyone. But in reality, there's not a whole lot of data on what low-but-steady doses of the drug does to humans.

    The only human study submitted by the drug's maker involved just six people -- and one found his heart racing so bad he dropped out.

    Here's the only thing you need to know about this drug: It's banned around the world. It's even banned in China, which doesn't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to food safety.

    Last year, Chinese officials arrested a bunch of farmers caught giving the drug to their pigs.

    But here in the U.S., you can get your own dose of ractopamine tonight if Shake-n-Bake is on the menu, and you won't even know it.

    The answer here isn't to avoid pork. Pork is delicious. The answer is to go organic -- and while you're at it, go organic with your beef and chicken too.

  2. Meat & fried food: the secret to a long life

    Diet advice usually comes with a whole lot of don'ts: Don't eat this, and don't drink that.

    So let me add one more "don't" to the list: Don't listen to all that mainstream nonsense... because you don't have to give up your favorite foods to live long, and a new study proves it.

    The only other "don't" you really need is this one: Don't eat sugar--because researchers have confirmed that it's the quickest path to an early grave.

    The researchers also say the best way to ensure a long and healthy life is through a diet high in what the mainstream considers healthy food: low-fat dairy, fish, vegetables and whole grains.

    But don't put down your steak knife just yet, because the researchers also found something else... something they weren't quite as eager to discuss in the pages of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

    Something they later admitted was "unexpected," probably because it doesn't jibe with all those "don'ts" you usually hear: People who ate the most meat and fried foods and had a steady, moderate drinking habit lived just as long as the so- called "healthy" eaters.

    And that means maybe you don't have to stick to poached chicken and salad greens after all.

    In the study, researchers tracked more than 2,500 adults between the ages of 70 and 79 for 10 years, splitting them into six groups based on the types of food they ate most frequently: "healthy foods," "high-fat dairy," "meat, fried foods, and alcohol," "breakfast cereal," "refined grains" and "sweets and desserts."

    After adjusting for risk factors, they found that high-fat dairy eaters--think ice cream--had a 40 percent higher risk of dying during the study period, while the sweets-and-desserts crowd had a 37 percent higher risk of death.

    That's compared to the so-called healthy eaters... but that's where the researchers lose some credibility here--because even though the seniors in the "meat, fried foods and alcohol" group were just as likely to remain alive as those on the supposedly healthy diet, they were practically ignored.

    It was as if they couldn't explain it... so they didn't even bother to try, despite the fact that those eaters represented the single biggest group in the study, with nearly twice as many of them than in the supposedly healthy group.

    Sounds to me like it's time to fry yourself a steak, crack open a beer--and ignore all the "don'ts."

    Your diet is just one measure of how long you might live... keep reading for an even simpler one.

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