Health officials, medical experts, and scientists all claimed that eating red meat was something that should be limited, if not altogether avoided. Red meat was linked to cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, and a host of other illnesses that blamed red meat consumption as its cause.
Recently, the belief that red meat was a danger to a person’s health and well-being took an about-face when researchers collaborated and discovered through their analysis that the connection between red meat and illness was too small to count.
“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions were low to very low,” stated Bradley Johnston, and epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada.
Johnston, also a leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also stated that the new research discovery may influence future dietary recommendations. Of course, critics now question whether the standards to which medical researchers are held is high enough. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as other public health groups, have scorned both the research findings and the journal in which the research was published.
In a statement from Harvard scientists, they cited concern that “these conclusions harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.” Other public health groups either filed petitions against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission or they published their own research to further support the original findings that red meat was indeed harmful to individual health.
The Centers for Disease Control shared that the average American eats about 4 ½ servings of red meat per week. They also shared that 10% of the population eats at least two servings of red meat per day. With such a high intake of red meat consumption by Americans, it came as no surprise that medical experts on both sides of the spectrum were concerned about the recent findings.
After three years of research by a group of 14 researchers from around the world and 3 community representatives, the final conclusion came based on 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, and with over 4 million participants.
Randomized trial links between red meat to heart disease and cancer and over 70 articles that examined the incidents of mortality and cancer based on red meat consumption were also considered when concluding on the final analysis of red meat and its correlation to illnesses and death. The conclusion based on the information resulting from the analysis revealed that the quality and evidence of eating red meat and its link to disease and death to be very low.
Although researchers found that the link between illnesses and red meat consumption was low, they did not comment on the environment in which most cattle tend to be raised. According to the New York Times, beef has an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows “belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”
The research also failed to deal with any potential impact of injections that cattle might receive to control their ability to produce. For this, many of the scientists on both sides of the fence agree that outside chemicals are currently affecting poultry and cows, alike. Unfortunately, this is something that can’t be changed without further addressing climate change issues or the manner in which farmers choose to breed their animals.