When I was a child, my mom made hamburgers for us many nights a week until she learned red meat wasn’t good for your health. She cut way back and by the time I went to college, I was rarely eating red meat.
Then, 15 or 20 years ago, I stopped eating red meat completely.
Recently, I was surprised to see headlines about studies contending eating red meat was not bad for your health.
Soon after, one of my go-to health writers, Dr. Mirkin, published a piece spelling out the deep flaws in the “red meat is not bad for your health” studies.
“Don’t believe the recent headlines suggesting that people can continue to eat their usual amounts of meat without suffering any increase in risk for illness or premature death,” Dr. Mirkin begins.
These news stories are based on articles in the Annals of Internal Medicine (September 30, 2019), that have caused many members of the scientific community to respond with horror and disbelief. Eating either meat or sugar increases disease risk and shortens lives. The authors summarized studies of meat reduction in populations that ate more sugar and other refined carbohydrates instead, so they showed that you gain nothing by substituting one harmful food, sugar, for another, meat. The authors did not analyze studies in which healthful foods, such as vegetables, beans, nuts and fruits, were substituted for meat.
Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.” Dr. Frank Hu, chairman of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition, called it “irresponsible and unethical,” and said that the consistency of the conclusions of many studies over many years gives credibility to the association of red meat with heart attacks, cancers and premature death.
I was already convinced when, about a week after I read Dr. Mirkin’s newsletter, I read this in the New York Times: Scientist Who Discredited Meat Guidance Didn’t Report Industry Ties.
I’m going to continue to stay away from red meat and I recommend you eat very little of it, if you eat it at all. What’s your plan? Please join the conversation with your comments…