Major Study Finds Little Evidence Eating Red Meat Is Unhealthy

Chris Menahan
Oct. 01, 2019

Fire up the grill, folks -- eating bugs has been officially canceled!

From The New York Times, "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice," subheadline, "The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.":
Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers said. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

"The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low," said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest nutrition evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published it.

Some called for the journal's editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions "harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research."

The notion that Americans might not worry about how much red meat they eat is one of the more jarring in a series of dietary reversals over the years, involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more. And while the conclusion is likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, it seems certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years.
Olestra, Crisco, trans fats, margarine... all these garbage products were promoted by the establishment as being good for you when they were all much worse than the foods they replaced.

Are we going to learn in the future it's the same case with genetically engineered food?
The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.
Indeed, we are all supposed to be eating bugs according to the New York Times.

I'm surprised they even reported on this "problematic" study.
In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don't exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that "omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects."
Here's some highlights directly from their report via Eric Topol:

The Times' article goes on to complain about the supposed environmental impact of meat. They're still intent on forcing us to eat bugs, so they've got to work their propaganda in somehow.

Incidentally, while the media still won't endorse eating red meat despite the evidence, they have no problem endorsing eating bugs even though there's been no serious studies on the health effects of mass insect consumption.

Insects in the wild are loaded with heavy metals like lead and arsenic but we're supposed to trust the establishment that farm-raised bugs are the healthiest food in the world!

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