New Study Claims No Need to Cut Down on Red and Processed Meat

Some doctors and nutritionists disagree, however

lab-grown meat is coming to a table near you
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 1, 2019 9:48 am

A new study released Monday (Sept. 30) suggests that there’s no need for people to cut back on their consumption of red and processed meats, but some doctors and nutritionists have raised concerns.

Researchers at Dalhousie and McMaster universities in Canada conducted five systemic reviews of the relationship between meat consumption and overall health, analyzing data from 54,000 people, and they found that there was no significant association between the consumption of meat and the risk of diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

Of course, the study focuses purely on individual health and doesn’t factor in the environmental concerns associated with the consumption of red meat.

“This is not just another study on red and processed meat, but a series of high quality systematic reviews resulting in recommendations we think are far more transparent, robust and reliable,” Bradley Johnston, corresponding author on the reviews and guideline, said. “We focused exclusively on health outcomes, and did not consider animal welfare or environmental concerns when making our recommendations. We are however sympathetic to animal welfare and environmental concerns with a number of the guideline panel members having eliminated or reduced their personal red and processed meat intake for these reasons.”

However, some health professionals have raised concerns about the study, saying it’s sending the wrong message. “We’re collectively appalled that this is being pushed in the way that it’s being pushed. It just adds to the confusion for patients,” Elizabeth Klodas, a cardiologist and member of the American College of Cardiology’s nutrition group, told The Washington Post. “The conclusions are not the conclusions of the medical community. They were selective in the studies included and the weight they gave them.”

“We eat 220 pounds of meat per person per year in this country,” she added. “That’s 15 servings a week. And you’re going to tell Americans, just keep going? Today we’re spending $315 billion per year treating heart disease; on our current trajectory, it will be nearly $800 billion by 2035.”

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