Author of ‘dietary guidelines’ encouraging people to keep eating red meat received industry funding


Dietary “guidelines” published September 30 suggest people should continue eating red meat and processed meat, contrary to previous evidence that they increase risk of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.
The recommendations were based on a review of research showing that health benefits of eating less meat are “very small” and are supported by weak evidence. Plus, people find it difficult to cut back on meat eating, the authors said.
It has since been revealed that the lead author of the study had previously received $76,863 in funding from an organization associated with the beef industry for research on saturated fat.
Even before knowing that, nutrition professionals said the “guidelines'” conclusions were contradictory, flawed, and “irresponsible.”
Major health and nutrition organizations continue to stand by their recommendations to limit red, and especially processed, meats to support long-term health.
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Most people are familiar with the common health advice to avoid red meat and processed meat, since they’ve been linked to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.

However, guidelines published September 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine call that advice into question.

The report was developed by a panel of international researchers who conducted five reviews of available research on meat-eating, including its impact on cancer risk and cardiovascular health, as well as people’s attitudes toward meat. In total, the researchers looked at more than 100 studies including more than 6 million people, according to an editorial on the research.

The panelists found that eating less meat was linked to only a very small reduction in health risks. They also concluded that the evidence that link is based on is uncertain and may not exist at all. In addition, the researchers found meat eaters tended to highly value their carnivorous habits, and would be unlikely to change.

However, an update on the research found that an author of the study did not disclose ties with an organization funded by the beef industry, and had in fact received $76,863 in funding for previous research that would have been considered a conflict of interest, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The guidelines, however, had already attracted controversy from public health experts and nutritionists, who said the information was misleading, the conclusions were unwarranted, and the guidelines themselves were “irresponsible.”

The guidelines suggest health benefits of cutting down on meat may be minimal

The report’s “weak” recommendation to continue eating meat was based on the following main points, according to Bradley Johnston, lead author of the study and associate professor of community health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University in Toronto.

Eating three fewer servings of meat a week leads to only a very small decrease in health risks, according to the research.
The link between meat eating and health risks is very uncertain, based on analyses of prior research methodology.
Most people who eat meat enjoy it, feel it has a positive impact on their health, and said they …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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