Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another Study Dissuades Ingestion of Too Much Red Meat

From CNN/Health.com, we get the following information skimmed from a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine:  too much red meat increases risks of dying, weight gain and more.

The source of the information is:  "Using data from two long-running studies of health professionals, researchers tracked the diets of more than 121,000 middle-aged men and women for up to 28 years..." so for anyone who is informed, this was not a clinical trial but an observational study.  Due to this fact, one can conclude from the data that was accessed - only correlation or link - not causal information.  However, we see the "AP" version on CNN/Health.com state things like:  "If everyone in the study had slashed their average red-meat intake to less than half a serving per day, the researchers say, 9% of deaths among men and 8% of deaths among women could have been prevented."  Really?

Other great excepts include:  "Why is red meat, and especially processed red meat, potentially harmful? In addition to the high saturated fat content, which can contribute to heart disease, charring red meat at high temperatures can produce carcinogens on the surface, Pan says. And processed meats contain certain additives that in high quantities are believed to promote cancer as well." 

I thought we were all aware saturated fat has never clinically been proven to be harmful - and is in fact beneficial to health.  Yet, it is continually blasted in observational / meta-analysis studies.  And here we have scientists explaining why meat is also bad - the carcinogens produced.  What part of the study was that in?  I call it grasping at straws.

There is a small voice of reason toward of the CNN article in which Staffan Lindeberg, M.D. from Sweden questions the validity of the study.  He states that the real threats to health is sugar and starch-heavy Western diets.  Lindeberg advocates an offshoot of the Paleo lifestyle.  

It is nauseating to read that "Sure enough, Pan and his colleagues found that the men and women in the study who ate the most red meat also tended to be heavier, less physically active, and more likely to smoke and drink alcohol than their peers.". 

Perhaps a more viable study would be to review the diets of those who mainly ate red meat - there are plenty of individuals available!  Don't worry about the study's validity however, they took into account those who were less active, smokers and drank alcohol.  Must have been a simple formula for the thousands of participants.

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