Eating red and processed meats has been the topic of debates for a variety of reasons. It seems that for the longest time health experts have urged people to cut back on their consumption of it.
However, things are further complicated by a new report that seemingly contradicts this advice.
Released in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the report concluded that people shouldn’t cut back on both red and processed types of meat after looking into previous research which linked the food to several diseases like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The advice was reportedly formulated by a group of fourteen researchers who come from seven countries.
They arrived at their conclusion after determining that the quality of the evidence that connected red meat to diseases was low. Another thing the team analyzed were people’s attitudes toward the food. According to them, people chose to reduce their consumption of red meat although they enjoyed eating it.
It’s worth noting though that the team reportedly has a partnership with a part of the Texas A&M University, which was partially funded by the beef industry. Meanwhile, the researchers say that they aren’t supported by any external resources.
Because of their controversial claims, the team has received numerous criticisms from other members of the scientific and medical community. One of the experts who voiced his disagreement is Dr. Frank Hu from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Aside from describing the report as ‘irresponsible’, the academic institution has also set up a page on its website to argue against the new meat-eating guidelines.
In the end, they maintained that the health consequences of consuming red and processed meat are a big deal. A study done by Harvard scientists even found that a simple 1.5 ounces increase in daily intake of the food resulted in a 10% higher death risk. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization classifies processed red meat as a ‘carcinogen‘ and is linked strongly with colon cancer.
The Environmental Impact
Aside from adverse health effects, the consumption of red meat has negative impacts on the planet as well. Beef production is especially impactful because of the amount of land and water it requires.
There’s also the fact that it entails more greenhouse emissions. Because of these scientists have devised the Planetary Diet, which encourages people to eat more legumes, nuts, and produce while reducing meat consumption.
In the end, people are highly discouraged to ignore the encouragement of the new report. Instead, they are recommended to use meat substitutes like Beyond Meat and if they can’t fully give up red meat, people are advised to only eat it on occasion.