Halving red meat consumption can reduce heart disease risk

Henrietta Brewer
October 2, 2019

Ahead of the new paper's publication, Hu and his colleagues completed their own analysis of data from studies used to form the new recommendations, and "calculated that a modest reduction in red meat consumption could hypothetically reduce mortality by 7.6% [at the US population level], or approximately 200,000 deaths a year", he says. The new studies argue that, since the evidence we have is relatively sparse, we can't tell people what to do based on the research. "And let's face it, most people won't crash", she said. "Can you imagine the cost if you had to. give patients red meat nearly every day for a decade and then convince the other group. not to eat meat for a decade?"

The researchers did not find statistically significant or an important association between meat consumption and the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer, researchers reported.

Most people may continue to eat their current levels of red and processed meat without endangering their health, according to a panel of global scientists, contradicting concerns that eating meat could contribute to serious medical conditions. "If there is a very small risk reduction - and the evidence base is uncertain, people then need to make their own decisions rather than having governments tell us we should reduce our red and processed meat consumption without being transparent and rigorous with their methods".

It's no secret that red meat may drive a variety of health issues, but advice to cut the food product entirely out of one's diet is too drastic for many people to consider.


In other, weaker studies involving millions of people, which simply observe the effects of people's usual diet, "we did find a small reduction in risk amongst those who consumed three fewer servings of red or processed meat per week".

Yesterday, a group of scientists dropped a bombshell in the form of a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal. Older or younger? What about the people who eat less red meat - what are they eating instead?

The WCRF advises eating only "moderate amounts" of red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb - with an upper limit of 500 grammes (17.6 ounces) cooked weight per week - and "little, if any" processed meat.

But many leading nutrition experts say that isn't the best way to judge nutrition research.


"The message people need to hear is that we should be eating no more than three portions of red meat a week and avoiding processed meat altogether".

Dietary studies are notoriously hard to do because people may not always eat what they say they do or may not remember.

The findings have shed a welcome new perspective on the debate about red meat and cancer, using the same evidence as previous studies but interpreting it in a different way.

The latest study has come under fire from some however, with Jim Mann, professor of medicine and human nutrition and co-director of Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre, saying: "In my opinion the "weak recommendations" based on "low certainty" evidence that adults "continue current consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat" are potentially unhelpful and could be misleading". But there is uncertainty: the risk of death could be 15 per cent lower, or it could be that reducing meat consumption does not make you live longer. However, experts from Harvard and Yale say these claims are irresponsible. "To be honest with our patients and the public, we shouldn't be making recommendations that sound like they're based on solid evidence".


"These kinds of wonky methodological discussions confuse the public and lead to what I call nutritional nihilism - the idea that nutrition science is so confusing that we don't have to pay attention to it", Nestle said.

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