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Psychology Today

A Sacred Cow? Controversial Recommendations About Red Meat

A sacred cow, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “an idea or institution unreasonably held to be immune from questioning or criticism.” The term, also used in journalism to indicate someone not to be criticized or even copy not to be altered, seems to have originated in the late 19th century, probably in the context of the cow as an object of reverence in the Hindu religion. With the recent intense criticism directed at a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine (October 2019) about red meat intake in our diet, we may be indeed dealing with one of our “sacred cows.” Criticism has come from the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Association, Dr. Frank Hu, Dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. David L. Katz, President and Founder, True Health Initiative, among many others, when the series of articles recommended, in a complete reversal of years of previous research findings, that Americans need not necessarily limit their intake of red and processed meat to prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, many forms of cancer, and even earlier mortality.

The Atlantic

The Actual Reason Meat Is Not Healthy

AUTHOR: JAMES HAMBLIN

Typically, a medical journal publishes its findings and then gives some analysis of what those findings might mean, but it is unusual for authors to extrapolate findings into recommendations. It is especially rare when the directives bear on heart disease, the No. 1 killer of humans. And incorporating patient preferences into the guidelines themselves is controversial. History would likely be different if findings in the 1960s that cigarettes cause lung cancer had been translated into clinical guidelines where harms were negated by people’s enjoyment of cigarettes.

The BMJ Opinion

Bacon rashers, statistics, and controversy

AUTHOR: Tim Spector and Christopher Gardner

Summarizing the evidence of all the studies is not easy, but in our view we should all be eating less meat & more high fibre, nutrient-dense foods that include many vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts & seeds

Center for Nutrition Studies

Dr. Campbell’s recommendations for Dietary Guidelines

AUTHOR: T. Colin Campbell, PhD

On the dietary guidelines, THI Council Member and author of The China Diet, T. Colin Cambell PhD says, “Over the decades, we have witnessed the recommendations take the form of a square (“Basic Four”) turned into a pyramid, into a dinner plate, and (almost) into a circle—all with similar content. Marketing yes, but science no….The executive summary of the 2002 FNB report made the extraordinary statement that up to 35% protein is associated with “minimizing risk for chronic disease” when 10% protein (the RDA) is enough. The 35% protein recommendation was accepted and is still promoted by the DG committee. Promoting 35% protein as an acceptable level for the school lunch and WIC programs, for example, is a disaster. In fact a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet, with no added oil, can easily provide 10-12% total protein, which meets the long established recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 9-10% protein. The continued use of an upper ‘safe’ level of 35% protein of total, daily dietary calories in my view is grossly unscientific and completely irresponsible. …..Not addressing information concerning the proper amount and kind of dietary protein, an essential major nutrient, will continue to have serious consequences

MarketWatch

‘Totally bizarre!’ – nutritionists see red over study downplaying the health risks of red meat

AUTHOR: Brett Arends

Nutritionists across the country are hitting back hard after a new collection of studies alleged that red meat and processed meats — including steak, ribs, bacon and salami — are fine for your health after all. ‘They ignored major parts of the available evidence.’ —Harvard University professor Walter Willett, who has published 1,700 academic articles on nutrition and public health

CBS News

Experts question studies on the impact of eating more red meat

AUTHOR: DR. TARA NARULA

In a statement, the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine called the results “misrepresentations” and said that there’s abundant evidence linking red and processed meat to heart disease and “increased risk of premature death.”

WebMD

Controversial Studies Say It’s OK to Eat Red Meat

AUTHOR: Debbie Koenig

A group of papers about red and processed meat and human health, released today by Annals of Internal Medicine, says it’s OK to eat them because researchers couldn’t find any links to health problems like heart disease and cancer. Not surprisingly, the studies have created an uproar among leading health and nutrition researchers who have long said eating too much of them is bad for your health. Several groups, one of which includes an author of one of the papers, sent letters to the journal’s editor requesting that publication be postponed for further investigation.

What Everyone Should Know About Dietary Guidelines

The USDA’s process for updating guidelines is as mind-numbing and confounding as you might expect -which often allows industry interests to emerge successful. Amidst the boring process, double-speak, and hidden agendas, the 2020 dietary guidelines have instituted first-time regulations that threaten public health more than the federal government would like people to understand. True Health Initiative breaks it down. 

https://www.endocrineweb.com

Is Red Meat Still Bad for You? The Experts Say Less is Best

Before you begin eating more red meat, or feeling less concern about your health when you do, consider the facts rather than the fantasy, say US experts who are working hard to tell you the truth behind the headlines promising that red meat is really ok. It is not—particularly if your hope to live healthier into your older years.

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Red and processed meat are OK to eat, controversial new guidelines claim. Don’t believe it, leading experts say

Leading nutritional experts in the United States and the UK are fired up about new dietary recommendations claiming there’s no need to reduce your red and processed meat intake for good health.
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