Nutrition

There's No Benefit to Limiting Red Meat Intake, New Study Says

Some nutritionists, though, have some beef with the report.

There's no benefit to limiting red meat intake, a new study says
Lisovskaya Natalia / Shutterstock

Feel free to eat all the beef burgers, bison, and bacon that your heart desires, because everything you’ve heard about red meat is totally wrong. At least, that’s the essence of an explosive and controversial new report published by an international collaboration of scientific researchers. 

As first reported by The New York Times, a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that dietary guidelines suggesting you limit your red meat intake are not backed by proper scientific evidence.

The group said suggestions by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which recommends only one weekly serving of red meat, and the World Health Organization, which has called red meat “probably carcinogenic” to humans, are based on observational studies, thereby calling into question the legitimacy of the recommendations.

It also called into question whether any conflicts of interest, such as paid lobbyists weighing in on the matter, were addressed in such guidelines.  

So how should we find out how much red meat is actually good for you? The researchers suggest an independent group of nutrition experts produce trustworthy recommendations based off their experience. The group doesn’t make any suggestions on how much red meat you should actually be eating.

While carnivore diet followers might be rejoicing at the news, researchers at various institutions are up in arms over it. One organization, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, even filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the study.

Dr. Frank Hu, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement on the school’s website that the study “runs contradictory to the large body of evidence indicating higher consumption of red meat … is associated with higher risk” of various diseases.

We’ve written about red meat plenty of times and know that the evidence can be confusing. On one hand, past studies have linked it to a higher risk of heart disease and cancer. But we also know that its chock full of protein, iron, zinc, and a hell of a lot more.

Some might take this news as a reason to fire up the grill, even though it’s October. But don’t rush to the deli counter just yet: it’s always best to listen to what your nutritionist or doctor says when it comes to your diet.

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