New dietary recommendations claim there is no need for people to reduce their intake of red and processed meat.
The research also sparked fierce criticism from organizations like the the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with the latter suggesting it could "cause harm to human health and erode public confidence in nutrition science".
However, it is already widely known that the risk of particular types of cancer, such as colorectal cancers increases when people consume red and processed meat, especially if it exceeds 18 ounces per week, Taylor said. In a series of controversial papers, the researchers argue that the increased health risks tied to red meat are small and uncertain, and that cutting back likely wouldn't be worth it for people who enjoy meat. The panel reviewed randomized controlled trials and observational studies looking at the impact of red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes.
There's a food war happening when it comes to consuming red and processed meat.
I asked Johnston what kind of study it would take to provide compelling evidence that reducing red meat consumption can reduce health risks.
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'Today's new publication studies outcomes basically similar to the present proof, however describes the impression very in a different way, contradicting the final consensus amongst most cancers analysis consultants.
Dr Giota Mitrou, director of research at World Cancer Research Fund, said the recommendations of three to four portions a week of red meat are similar to their own previous recommendations, but added: "The public could be put at risk if they interpret this new recommendation to mean [they] can continue eating as much red and processed meat as they like without increasing their risk of cancer".
Of note, the researchers found that in addition to a drop in LDL cholesterol, decreasing red meat and processed meat consumption also caused a decrease in white and red blood cell counts. "If [guidelines are] based on observational studies, it's hard to make strong causal inferences on red meat or processed meat, given other possibly confounding factors" such as a person's socioeconomic class, lifestyle and other dietary habits, Johnston says.
The researchers said they want to change the "old school" approach of giving general nutritional recommendations and to bring more focus on evidence of individual benefit.
Three of the 14 researchers said they support reducing red and processed meats.
A panel of worldwide scientists led by researchers at Dalhousie and McMaster universities systematically reviewed the evidence and have recommended that most adults should continue to eat their current levels of red and processed meat.
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In the papers, the authors sought to gauge the potential impact of eating less meat, noting the average of two to four servings a week eaten in North America and Western Europe.
Attacks on the quality of nutrition research have been coming from many sources lately: the food industry, of course, but also statisticians (John Ioannidis at Stanford is making a career of this), and some scientists (usually with ties to food companies).
Meat eaters are less obese and have less heart disease and cancer than those who eat less?
"Rather, as they say, limiting to three servings or less a week is a better way to go. These people run the risk of inadvertently substituting a healthy, balanced diet with one that lacks essential nutrients and has the opposite effect on their health".
Are the red-meat-eaters in your study richer or poorer than the rest of the population?
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