Red Meat
Home Health Controversial Studies Say It’s OK to Eat Red Meat

Controversial Studies Say It’s OK to Eat Red Meat


A group of papers about red and processed meat and human health, released recently by Annals of Internal Medicine, says it’s OK to eat them because researchers couldn’t find any links to health problems like heart disease and cancer.

The papers gathered data from existing studies to analyze the links between eating red and processed meat and life-threatening conditions like cancer, heart disease,  stroke, and diabetes. They found that the evidence was too weak to say for sure if there was a link. The articles included five meta-analyses — or studies of studies — and reviews of existing data plus a set of guidelines. NutriRECS, which describes itself as “an independent group with clinical, nutritional and public health content expertise,” produced the studies. An editorial about the findings accompanied the articles.

Not surprisingly, the studies have created an uproar among leading health and nutrition researchers who have long said eating too much of them is bad for your health. Several groups, one of which includes an author of one of the papers, sent letters to the journal’s editor requesting that publication be postponed for further investigation.

“It’s the most egregious abuse of data I’ve ever seen,” says Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was among the signers of the letter. “There are just layers and layers of problems.”

The NutriRECS guidelines recommend that adults don’t change the amounts of red and processed meat they’re eating. That contradicts the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, advice from the World Health Organization, and numerous studies and books published over the last decade, all of which point to the health and environmental benefits of eating less meat and more plant-based foods.

“Our approach has been very different than previous approaches,” says Bradley Johnston, PhD, an author on all six papers and a co-founder of NutriRECS. “We’ve taken the individual approach rather than societal. We believe that people should be fully informed when they make health care decisions based on best estimates of data, how certain we can be in that evidence base. What has come before us often has no assessment of certainty of evidence, or if there is, it’s often unreliable.”

‘Grave Concerns’

At least six organizations have prepared statements or reached out to Christine Laine, MD, editor-in-chief of Annals of Internal Medicine, about the articles. In a letter sent to her by True Health Initiative (THI), an organization dedicated to fighting preventable diseases, a group of 13 prominent doctors and researchers sought “to request and recommend that the Annals preemptively retract publication of these papers pending further review by your office. We do so on the basis of grave concerns about the potential for damage to public understanding, and public health.”

Others have questioned how accurate nutrition studies based on observational data are. Many use data based on asking people to remember what they ate, which can be unreliable. Media coverage can distort the findings. Others may be funded by industry.Contradictory data. When the True Health Initiative members took a closer look at the data in the papers, they found very clear connections between eating more meat and processed meat and risks for death, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The GRADE system’s preference for randomized controlled trials allowed the authors to discount those results from the observational studies.

“It leads back to this misconception that nutrition is hard and confusing, that we don’t know how to eat, that doctors can’t agree,” says Jennifer Lutz, executive director of True Health Initiative. “We do know the best diet for human health and also the planet: plant-based. We are not a vegan or vegetarianorganization. We have council members who are paleo. We believe in the spectrum, that there’s more than one way to be healthy. This idea we’re arguing is nonsense. There’s disagreement, but there is consensus.”

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD.  

Leave a comment

Related Articles

BreakingHealthTop StoryWorldWorld News

Doctors discover bracelet and earphones among 150 objects inside man’s stomach

Doctors were in “shock” after removing earphones, a bracelet, nuts and bolts...

EntertainmentHealthTop StoryTrending Story

Outbreak of Diphtheria hits 18 states as FG confirms 7,202 cases, 453 deaths

The Federal Government has confirmed 7,202 cases of diphtheria out of the...

HealthHighlightTrending Story

COVID-19: Nigeria receives $9.2m vaccination grant from Canadian Govt

In a bid to scale-up COVID-19 vaccine service delivery among high-priority risk...

FeaturedHealthHighlightTrending Story

Are ‘balloons’ the new drug epidemic in Nigeria?

They may look like the normal balloons you see at children’s birthday...

HealthHighlightTrending Story

UK commits £2m to strengthen Nigeria’s health workforce

In a bid to strengthen Nigeria’s health workforce in the vision of...

HealthHighlightTrending Story

Breaking: Cancerous Indomie Noodles banned by NAFDAC

Following allegations of a cancer-causing chemical found in the noodles and its...

BreakingHealthTrending Story

Weight loss can put Type 2 diabetes in remission ‘for at least five years’

By Neil Murphy Losing weight can put Type 2 diabetes in remission...

HealthTop Story

Some restaurants lacing their foods with drugs, health expert raises alarm

A Neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Ifedilichukwu Uchendu, has disclosed that some restaurants in Nigeria...

HealthTrending StoryWorld News

International group launches proposal to ban surrogacy worldwide

A group of lawyers, doctors, psychologists, and others from five continents gathered...

HealthTrending Story

No cases of Marburg virus yet in Nigeria, says NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has allayed the fears of...

BreakingHealthTop StoryWorld News

60,000 covid related deaths recorded in China since early December

China has recorded nearly 60,000 coronavirus-related deaths since restrictions were lifted in...

HealthTop StoryTrending Story

NAFDAC alerts Nigerians to fake antibiotics in circulation

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has...

HealthHighlightTrending Story

Declare state of emergency on TB cases, health experts tell FG

In a bid to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)...


Decision to Leave Is This Century’s First Great Erotic Thriller

Mauris mattis auctor cursus. Phasellus tellus tellus, imperdiet ut imperdiet eu, iaculis...


Winners of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022

Mauris mattis auctor cursus. Phasellus tellus tellus, imperdiet ut imperdiet eu, iaculis...


Technology Can Make Your Relationships Shallower

Mauris mattis auctor cursus. Phasellus tellus tellus, imperdiet ut imperdiet eu, iaculis...