New study finds meat is healthy, no real health risks

A new scientific study claims to have found little to no health risks associated with eating red meat. The study says previous studies that claimed there was a link between red meat consumption and health problems were based on “weak evidence”.

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have published a study titled “Health Effects Associated with Eating Unprocessed Red Meat: A Weight of Proof Study.” The paper appeared in Nature magazine in October.

The scientists explained: “We found weak evidence of an association between consumption of unprocessed red meat and colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease. Furthermore, we found no evidence of an association between unprocessed red meat and ischemic stroke or stroke bleeding.”

The study authors noted, “While there is some evidence that unprocessed red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of disease and mortality, this is weak and insufficient to make stronger or more conclusive recommendations.” “

Scientists developed a star rating system ranging from one star (not related to health risks) to five stars (most dangerous). The IHME study found that none of the numerous studies linking red meat to health risks received more than a two-star rating. A two star rating would mean that the behavior is associated with health risks between 0-15%.

dr Steven Novella, a Yale neurologist and president of the New England Skeptical Society who was not involved in the study, wrote an article about meat consumption and cited the study.

“The health implications of eating meat are pretty clear at this point. A recently published meta-analysis of health risk factors provides a good summary of this evidence,” Novella wrote. “The evidence for any direct vascular or health risk from regular meat consumption is very limited to the point that there is probably no risk. They need to eat large amounts of processed red meat on a daily basis before risk becomes measurable.”

He pointed out that there is a health risk in “eating too few vegetables”.

“That’s really the risk of a high-meat diet, those meat calories crowding out plant-based calories,” Novella warned. “For personal health reasons, I think a reasonable summary of the evidence is that people should get most of their calories from fruits and vegetables with some grains, but also get some meat protein. Meat has some vitamins that are hard to come by elsewhere and is high in -quality protein.”

“You can eat a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet, but it’s challenging and not possible for some populations,” he added. “The bottom line is health is the only consideration, the optimal diet would include a modest amount of meat.”

dr Emmanuela Gakidou – Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and lead author of the study – said“Our analysis not only helps consumers, but can also guide decision-makers in developing health and wellness education programs to focus on the risk factors with the greatest impact on health. Health researchers can also use this analysis to identify areas where current evidence is weak and more definitive studies are needed.”

The scientists stated, “More rigorous, more informed research is needed to better understand and quantify the relationship between unprocessed red meat consumption and chronic disease.”

IHME | Video Press Release | burden of proof New study finds meat is healthy, no real health risks

Laura Coffey

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