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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

Red meat increases risk of heart disease and cancer! Study critiques

I opened up my email this morning to see what new awaited my from various nutrition study feeds.

Here is what I find: RED MEAT IS GOING TO KILL ME – Yikes

From Medsape

Eating Meat Ups Risk of Cardiovascular and Cancer Mortality

March 12, 2012 (Boston, Massachusetts) — Long-term data from two large studies might have more people considering a switch to vegetarianism, with investigators reporting results showing that processed and unprocessed meat consumption is associated with a significantly increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, as well as increased risk of death from cancer [1]. After adjustment for multiple risk factors, eating one additional serving of meat daily was associated with a 16% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality and a 10% increased risk of death from cancer. ….

Hmm. thats a worry. However the study article went on to note – those who ate more red meat also had increases in other risk factors, including doing less physical activity, having a higher BMI, and higher rates of smoking. Were these properly accounted for? Did they really take into account the quality of the red meat? Hamburger is unprocessed meat?? Really?

How do we know that these factors were well enough accounted for?And remember this is association – yet headlines scream (or infer) CAUSE.

So before you get acutely worried about eating steak for dinner tonight let me point you in the direction of 4 excellent critiques of the study. Each one looks at the methods of data collection and analysis, and also re-analyse the raw data. When looked at critically – the correlation is hardly conclusive.

Awesome overview of the problems with epidemiology, critique, and great links here Nutritional Epidemiology: More Harm Than Good? by Bob Kaplan

Zoe Harcombe: Red meat & mortality & the usual bad science

Denise Minger on Mark’s Daily Apple: Will Eating Red Meat Kill You?

Robb Wolf: Red Meat: Part of a Healthy Diet?

J Stanton, Gnolls.org: Always Be Skeptical Of Nutrition Headlines: Or, What “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality” (Pan et.al.) Really Tells Us

Dr Briffa:  Red Meat Kills? It’s flagrant bias that’s killing me…

 

And do though be open minded – maybe there is more of a problem with red meat for some. Excess iron? The damage caused by eating charred meat? Could red meat be higher in problem fats and other chemicals related to the way we grow it (especially in America, with grain fed cows)
But do start worrying if you drink a soda, soft drink or even glass of juice each day:

Sugary Drinks Tied to More Heart Attacks

A Soda a Day Raises CHD Risk by 20%

 

 

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