Is eating red meat a concern?
So there has been some media attention in the last couple of days questioning is eating red meat a concern? As I have been writing this month about a wheat, grain and gluten free lifestyle I will share a couple of resources for you here.
What started the discussions regarding red meat is this article in Forbes: Click here to see full article.
Now here is Chris Kesser’s L.Ac.(licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine) take on the info: Full article click here. So in the last couple of paragraph’s this is how Chris wraps up his response:
I’d like to end with an observation from the discussion section of the TMAO paper. The authors state:
Numerous studies have suggested a decrease in atherosclerotic disease risk in vegan and vegetarian individuals compared to omnivores; reduced levels of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat have been suggested as the mechanism explaining this decreased risk. Notably, a recent 4.8-year randomized dietary study showed a 30% reduction in cardiovascular events in subjects consuming a Mediterranean diet (with specific avoidance of red meat) compared to subjects consuming a control diet.
This might sound like damning evidence against red meat. However, when you look at Table One in Mediterranean Diet trial, you’ll find that the Mediterranean diet allowed more red meat than the control diet (a low-fat diet)! The Mediterranean Diet allowed for “one serving or less of red or processed meat per day“, whereas the low-fat diet only permitted “one serving or less of red or processed meat per week“. (You can see this for yourself. Click here to access the PDF version of the study, then scroll down to Table One.) Clearly this paper does not support the authors’ conclusion that red meat increases the risk of heart disease.
They also claim that vegan and vegetarian diets reduce the risk of atherosclerotic disease compared to omnivorous diets; but the studies they reference fail to adequately control for the “healthy user bias”. The study I mentioned in the beginning of this article compared heart disease risk amongst omnivores and vegetarians that shop at health food stores (which is a big step toward reducing healthy user bias), and did not find a difference in deaths from heart disease, stroke or all causes.
If you read the media reports and full-text of this study, you might have noticed something interesting. The study itself, and even most of the media article about it, quite simply and without much fanfare stated that saturated fat and cholesterol have little to do with the supposed increase in heart disease observed with red meat consumption. Hold the press! Shouldn’t THAT be front-page news?!? Apparently not. Of course, they’re only willing to admit this publicly in the context of an article where they’re proposing yet another mechanism for how red meat will kill you.
Finally, the most remarkable and sad part of this for me is seeing just how deep most people’s fear and distrust of red meat is, even if they’ve been following a Paleo diet for a long time. The day after the TMAO study was published, I woke up to no fewer than 20 emails and the same number of Facebook messages and Tweets from people expressing concern that their choice to eat red meat might be killing them. It really is a testament to the power of brainwashing. Most of us grew up with the idea that red meat is harmful, and it’s perhaps not so easy to leave that behind—even when you think you have.
Chris Masterjohn is working on a detailed analysis of the data from this paper, which should be ready soon. I believe we may be seeing more “red meat is bad because of TMAO” studies in the near future, so as always, when you see a media report on such a study, take it with a heavy grain of salt (which, by the way, doesn’t cause high blood pressure in most people!).
Now here is Charles Poliquin as he responds to a Harvard study on meat back in March of 2012. Highly informative and he provides 12 reasons why we must be eating red meat that is Wild or Grass Fed rather than processed or store bought meats.
These studies do not in any way take me of the course of eating high quality grass raised, grass finished beef, pork and pastured chicken in moderation.
I will remain wheat, grain and gluten free for my health, fitness and well being. Are you eating wild or grass fed meats?
Let today be your day! Talk soon,