True Health Initiative Response to Assertions Concerning our Response to Red Meat Reports

A Review of Actions
True Health Initiative
An unfortunate controversy has arisen concerning the True Health Initiative’s response to suggested guidelines advising people to keep eating red and processed meat at current levels, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this past September. True Health Initiative exists to be a voice of reason and consensus during a time of divisiveness and confusion. The current controversy, directly opposes this mission.  As such, we seek to address concerns that have recently been raised by an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

True Health Initiative responded to the Annals red meat papers, with concerns regarding the authors’ recommended guidelines—which contradicted their own data. As mentioned in the JAMA article, THI sent a letter (which was published publicly, as part of the THI press release), to the Annals of Internal Medicine. This letter recommended that the Annals preemptively retract publication of these recommendations pending further review by their office, and included no language or intent to repress science.

We publicly opposed “guidelines” that are harmful to public health, especially as these “guidelines” directly oppose the weight of evidence and evidence provided by the authors’ own research. We believe it would have been irresponsible of us, not to act. True Health Initiative is based on a set of core principles that guide our work. It has been suggested that we have a vegan agenda.  This is inaccurate; we have an evidence-based and public health agenda, which informs our communications. 

Our opposition to the Annals “guidelines” was not predicated on potential conflicts of interest among the study authors, as suggested by the JAMA article, because such conflicts were not known to us at the time.  The so-called guidelines were inappropriate with or without conflicts, and this is what THI, and leading experts, publicly opposed.  However, such conflicts have been partially disclosed by the Annals since, and reported by mainstream media.

True Health Initiative represents a robust and diverse council of leading health experts, but both our budget and operating team is woefully small. We simply do not have the knowledge or ability to orchestrate the bot response, that was alleged in the JAMA article.  The response to the proposed “guidelines” did not come solely from True Health Initiative but rather, represents a varied assortment of health professionals and organizations.  Critique toward the supposed “guidelines” has grown as more information has been acquired; this critique was not prompted by the True Health Initiative, but by the weight of evidence. 

All communications regarding the Annals red meat report have been public and remain on the THI website, for reference.

True Health Initiative respectfully disagreed and continues to disagree with these “recommendations.” We stand with the weight of evidence, the weight of sense and will continue to work in the interest of public health. 







**For additional information, you can read the opinion and personal commentary of  THI President, Dr. David Katz, and Dr. Sten Vermund, Dean of the Yale University School of Public Health: