Is Red Meat Bad for You?

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Photo by: Flickr

Aaron Pellican

A recent article published in the New York Times in late September revealed the information of new studies in which researchers revealed that eating red meat isn’t quite as bad as many have made it out to be. 

Since the 1970’s red meat consumption has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. But according to this new article, which was carried out by a group of 14 researchers over a course of three years and spanning across seven different countries, concluded that if eating less red meat does offer health benefits, they are small.  

While the research did acknowledge a link to cardiovascular issues, they claimed they could not conclude with any amount of certainty that there was a link to cancer.  

The article has already been publicly criticized by public health researchers such as The American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health, and many other groups as well.  These groups have referred to the article as “fatally flawed” and that it “harmed the credibility of nutrition science and erodes public trust of scientific research.”  

Even in a country that is aware of the harms of red meat and the basics of a healthy diet, the average American still eats about four-and-a-half servings of red meat per week. What can not be argued is the unhealthy nature of an average American diet.  

Red meat, fast food, processed food, sweets, whatever it might be we are surrounded by unhealthy options.  And while this new study raises some questions about the true health quality of red meat, my main questions as well as medical associations everywhere are centered towards the legitimacy of this study.  

The evidence over a span of 30-plus years has continued to point to the number of adverse effects red meat produces upon human consumption. While there is no intent to discredit this new study, its three years of research amongst 14 researchers just doesn’t quite compare to multiple decades worth of studies carried out by countless medical researchers and scientists.  

All those years of research overwhelmingly conclude the negative effects of red meat. Not only is it strongly linked to heart disease, but thanks to the high amounts of saturated fats as well as carcinogens, which find their way into the meat through mass production and cooking, it has also been strongly linked to colon and breast cancer.  

The language in the new study published in the New York Times seems to be rather vague and only presents more of a perception of relief than anything. The study offers a sense of comfort around the idea of eating red meat more than anything as it doesn’t disprove in any type of way a correlation between red meat and heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. 

 Until much more research and studies have been done concerning this side of the argument and more is proven, the facts remain that high rates of red meat consumption can prove to be very harmful to our overall health.