No need to cut down red meat and processed meat, controversial findings suggest

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An article on ScienceDaily, a source for the latest research news, states “Most people can continue to eat red [meat] and processed meat as they do now. A major study led by researchers at McMaster and Dalhousie universities has found cutting back has little impact on health.”

Date:September 30, 2019
Source: McMaster University
Summary: Contrary to previous advice, five new systematic reviews suggest that most people can continue to eat red meat and processed meat as they do now. The major studies have found cutting back has little impact on health.

A panel of international scientists systematically reviewed the evidence and have recommended that most adults should continue to eat their current levels of red meat and processed meat.

The researchers performed four systematic reviews focused on randomized controlled trials and observational studies looking at the impact of red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes.

In one review of 12 trials with 54,000 people, the researchers did not find statistically significant or an important association between meat consumption and the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

In three systematic reviews of cohort studies following millions of people, a very small reduction in risk among those who had three fewer servings of red or processed meat a week, but the association was uncertain.

The authors also did a fifth systematic review looking at people’s attitudes and health-related values around eating red and processed meats. They found people eat meat because they see it as healthy, they like the taste and they are reluctant to change their diet.

The five systematic reviews, a recommendation and an editorial on the topic were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine today.

McMaster professor Gordon Guyatt, chair of the guideline committee, said the research group with a panel of 14 members from seven countries used a rigorous systematic review methodology, and GRADE methods which rate the certainty of evidence for each outcome, to move from evidence to dietary recommendations to develop their guidelines.

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