October 23, 2019

Experts question long held beliefs about red meat

We’re constantly bombarded with contradictory messages about nutrition and healthy eating. The conventional advice about red meat for a while has been reduce your consumption to decrease your risk of heart attack and cancer. But now some medical professionals are wondering if that advice has been wrong all along. 

A review published in the highly acclaimed academic journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at several different studies and concluded the following

Low- to very-low-certainty evidence suggests that diets restricted in red meat may have little or no effect on major cardiometabolic outcomes and cancer mortality and incidence.

This academic journal is well respected and the authors – an international team of nutritional scientists – of this review are highly qualified experts. 

The authors don’t say that there’s no link between eating red meat and an increased risk for heart disease, cancer and early death. They simply concluded that the risk was so small and the quality of the studies which were done in the past were too poor to justify any recommendation. 

It seems like experts can’t make up their minds about what we should eat right? It might be because nutrition studies are so complicated. They have to be conducted over a long period of time, like decades, and diseases can take years to surface. And there are so many variables that need to be factored in, including lifestyle, environment, and genetics. It’s challenging to say for sure that a specific dietary habit has a direct relationship to good health or bad. The link between diet and health is complex and personal.

Of course this controversial study has caused quite a stir since it was published earlier this month. Other nutrition professionals have expressed their opinions, and often outrage, online. 

There are some nutritional facts about red meat that aren’t changing anytime soon: it contains high-quality protein and all the essential amino acids we need. It’s also high in iron, magnesium, zinc and contains vitamins A, B₂, B₁, B₁₂, B₆, and B₃.

If you’re keen to learn more about the study you can listen to some of the authors speaking here:

As with most things in life, we believe that moderation is key. But if reading this makes you feel slightly less guilty about tucking in to that juicy steak tonight then so be it 😉