Halving red meat consumption can reduce heart disease risk

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Older recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer treats red meat and processed meat as "probably carcinogenic" and "carcinogenic" to humans, respectively.

A new set of analyses published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the widespread recommendations to cut back on red and processed meats.

A controversial study has leading experts up in arms after it hinted that eating less red and unprocessed meat does not improve one's health, according to CNN.

Gordon Guyatt, chair of the guideline committee and a professor at McMaster University, said in a statement that the research group used a rigorous methodology and GRADE methods, which rate the certainty of evidence for each outcome, to move from evidence to dietary recommendations to develop their guidelines.

But the authors say the evidence is weak, and that there's not much certainty meat is really the culprit, since other diet and lifestyle factors could be at play.

The learn about's creator elaborated: "From 12 randomised controlled trials enrolling about 54,000 people, we failed to get a statistically valuable or a wanted association in the threat of coronary heart illness, cancer or diabetes for folks who consumed much less pink or processed meat".

The new study consisted of four systematic reviews of trials and studies conducted by other scientists who were investigating links between consuming red and processed meat and cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes. People should be aware that reducing meat consumption may decrease their health risk, but could also impact quality of life.

However, a study, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, showed that tick bites could trigger the allergic reaction to red meat and spread sensitivity to the allergen among people.

"Based on the research, we can not say with any certainty that eating red or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes or heart disease", said Bradley Johnston, an associate professor at Dalhousie University in Canada who co-led the review published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.

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The majority of nutrition studies are observational - in the case of red meat, they asked if meat-eaters were less healthy, and if those who ate more were also less healthy than those who ate less.

Over the course of 12 weeks, the researchers had almost 50 participants adjust their red meat intake to determine how doing so would affect their health.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham wanted to find out if reducing the amount of red meat eaten, rather than cutting it out completely, would have a positive effect on the health of the subjects taking part.

"The rules of scientific proof are the same for physics as for nutrition", he said in a telephone interview.

But Dr Marco Springmann, senior researcher on environmental sustainability and public health at the University of Oxford, said: "The recommendation that adults continue current red and processed meat consumption is based on a skewed reading and presentation of the scientific evidence".

Science may be ending its years-long beef with red meat.

It's not the first time researcher Bradley Johnston has had the nutrition community up in arms over his work.

His advice: "People should be aware of the uncertainty and make their decisions based on that awareness". Gardner pointed out that more vegetables, beans, fruit and fibre are healthy foods to eat, whether or not you need to remove meat from your diet to fit them in.

Recommendations from the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, as well as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, all call for limiting red meats and processed meats. They also note that they were not considering other possible reasons for eating less red meat - such as concern for animals andtheharmful effects to the environment.

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