Just one more week (for most of us)
In case you haven’t consumed any health news recently, there is a big
beef over research showing red meat is not bad for you. A huge study
has contradicted decades of anti-red-meat advice, and the experts who
gave that advice are red-faced and livid.
The new research
was a systematic review of existing research, conducted by a team of
interdisciplinary researchers with no conflict of interest. After
eliminating many poorly done studies, and studies done on animals (which
have unknown application to humans), the team concluded, “The panel
suggests that adults continue current unprocessed red meat consumption
(weak recommendation, low-certainty evidence). Similarly, the panel
suggests adults continue current processed meat consumption (weak
recommendation, low-certainty evidence).”
The problem is that this contradicts decades of research saying that
meat, especially red and processed meat, is bad for health, allegedly
causing heart disease and cancer. Virtually every medical organization
has been telling people to stop eating meat for health reasons.
What are all these experts going to do now that the research studies
they were relying on for their recommendations were flawed and biased?
Experts hate to be told they are wrong. After all, they are the experts,
so who can trump them?
This study did. And the response has been anger from the medical community, a very unscientific response.
In a story on the findings, and the reaction from the embarrassed and defensive medical community, the New York Times wrote
“Already [the study authors] have been met with fierce criticism by
public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American
Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other
groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.”
The Times explains, “While the new findings are likely to please
proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to
public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few
years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary
reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.”
Clearly, the Emperor never likes to be told he has no clothes. This
is a major rebuke, not only of medicine, but of nutrition research and
public policy. As the Times article continued, “Some [medical experts]
called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a
statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions ‘harm the
credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific
Harvard doesn’t want the public to realize that its public health
recommendations are based on bad science. The public may lose trust. We
can’t allow the public to realize that medical advice is sketchy, at
Some medical groups don’t like the implications of the study, since
they philosophically oppose meat consumption. According to the Times,
“Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a
plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with
the Federal Trade Commission.”
Realize that these groups are calling for censorship of scientific information that goes against policy.
Read the rest here