Updated: Apr 28
I was thrilled to see a recent article published in the journal Nature Medicine that reviewed the existing literature on the risks of consuming unprocessed red meat. The authors conducted a systematic review of existing studies to determine what, if any, relationship could be determined between consumption of red meat and six health outcomes. Researchers found no risk between red meat consumption and ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. They found weak evidence of association between consumption of unprocessed red meat and colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and ischemic heart disease.
Researchers found no risk between red meat consumption and ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. They found weak evidence of association between consumption of unprocessed red meat and colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
It’s refreshing to see articles such as this when the general trend lately has been to demonize red meat consumption. The existing research on red meat has been marred by poorly designed studies that count fast food, such a burger and fries as a “meat”
meal, without any accounting for the highly processed food-like stuffs, like the bun, seed oil, deep-fried fries, etc. that accompany it. If anything, the burger patty is the healthiest thing in the meal. Moreover, they rely on food frequency surveys, which often ask participants to remember what they ate over the course of several months or even a year! They are notoriously inaccurate. I can barely remember what I ate last Tuesday, much less 6 months ago. People are known to over-report foods that they think are healthy, such as vegetables and whole grains, and under-report things that they might feel judged for. This is known as acquiescence bias, and it’s a real thing.
The general trend lately has been to demonize red meat consumption.
Nonetheless, the Lescinsky, et al. (2022) were scrupulous in their review of the existing literature and went to lengths to make sure they were comparing apples to apples.
The larger concern about the demonization of meat is concerning at many levels - international, societal, community, and family. I'm hoping to start writing more about this topic as it is important to me that people are aware of the short and long-term consequences of this anti-meat trend.
We're drowning in calories, yet starved for nutrition.
We need meat, especially growing children and aging adults. Ounce for ounce, meat contains more bioavailable protein and nutrients than any grain, lentil or processed food product. The vilification of meat, at the individual and family level, will lead to increasing rates of obesity, as the body continues to crave and seek out nutrients, and malnutrition, as it fails to find them in adequate amounts in our denatured, nutrient-void, pseudo-foods. It's the greatest paradox of our times. We're drowning in calories, yet starved for nutrition.
How does it make sense to blame the oldest food in the world for our newest illnesses?
How does it make sense to blame the oldest food in the world for our newest illnesses? There's more the to picture than meets the eye. And I urge you to look deeper and question the prevailing narrative.
You can check out the entire article here:
Lescinsky, H., Afshin, A., Ashbaugh, C. et al. Health effects associated with consumption of unprocessed red meat: a Burden of Proof study. Nat Med 28, 2075–2082 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01968-z