Despite being one of the most nutritious foods, red meat is arguably the most controversial food in the history of humankind. Even though human beings have been eating red meat throughout their evolution, most people believe that it can potentially cause serious health issues. In fact, recent media publications are often filled with headlines such as Red Meat is dangerous, Meat Kills!’ and such like stuff.
So today in this post, we want to review this most recent research quickly and see if we’ll be able to come up with a meaningful conclusion. The study was labeled as Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake with All-cause and Cause-Specific Mortality.’ It was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
It is imperative to note that the sources of data for the study were from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study, a large prospective cohort. To be more precise, a total of one hundred and thirty-one thousand, three hundred and forty-two patients were carefully followed for decades, asking each what he/she ate. A portion of them will either die or develop certain health conditions, and then they look at the collected database, so as to check if there are any possible relations. Though any inference for casualty cannot be made, most people would do. Why not? These are just associations after all.
For instance, there is a direct correlation between drowning in a pool and eating ice cream. Perhaps this could be because both incidences occur more often during the summer, but not entirely because the prospect of taking ice cream compromises your swimming abilities. It is worth noting that nearly all such correlations are false. Why? Because of there are often an infinite number of associations as well as only one casual agent. For instance, accidents in the swimming pool could be related to driving convertibles, sunburns, etc. With this in mind, now let us closely look at the study.
During the research, they asked people a particular food they ate and categorized it as either vegetable or animal protein. Plant protein included cereals, nuts, bread, pasta, legumes, and beans. Consequently, processed meats comprised of hot dogs, bologna sausage, bacon, kielbasa, and salami. When working with a large unit like this, it is critical to see if there are variations in other aspects of the groups you are comparing, other than just the vegetable versus meat comparison. In this scenario, there was a significant difference.
For instance, it was realized that individuals who ate more plant protein were equally more active physically and they also smoked less. As a result, the researchers needed to adjust and make the playing field level. But, the question now becomes, what’s the criteria for making such an adjustment? You are allowed to make any change of your choice. For example, regarding physical activity, how much should you adjust? One could conclude that perhaps an adjustment of between five to a hundred percent in mortality is perfect. This is purposeless, and each time you come across the term ADJUSTED, you should know that it means we made it up.’
After the adjustments, for every ten percent increase in animal protein consumption the death hazard ratio becomes 1.02 (not significant statistically) and 1.08 for a cardiovascular fatality (significant). Here, it can be concluded that you don’t die more frequently, but when you do, there is a higher probability that you’ll die as a result of strokes or heart attacks. However, here is the trick you probably don’t know. If you agree to this particular conclusion, the implication is that the prospect of feeding on less animal protein gives you reduced deaths related to heart, but must RAISE YOUR RISK OF YOUR DEATH COMING FROM SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Interestingly, this is not indicated in any of these misleading publications on meat is harmful.’ When you accept these judgments, then this implies that you should also accept that protein from vegetables KILLs,’ however, not from a heart infection.
So, with such a very insignificant hazard ratio differences, this post is almost useless. In fact, it is very shallow and I wonder why there is so much spam in the media as well as from the authors themselves. Evidently, lots of resources were put into this study, in terms of time and money. So if we come up with an honest and a rational conclusion, this research revealed that there is no significant difference between eating vegetable and meat protein. As such, this is just another typical no news articles.
It is very easy for anyone to attract attention with a noisy and a sensational headline such as MEAT KILLS. Of course, as the publisher, you’ll gain lots of fame and increase your prominence from an academic point of view. Unfortunately, millions of people globally are misled as a result. Is there any actual truth that indeed red meat is potentially harmful?
So, let us see if we can generate some meaningful conclusion from all this. Apparently, we can all see that one data point is convincing, and it evidently not the vegetable vs. meat protein. The information which determines the results is the processed meat. There seems to be a significant limitation to eating meat that is processed. Is there some truth in this?
First and foremost, let us compare bologna and fresh meat. What happens during meat processing? There is no doubt that processed meat is full of harmful chemicals, which are not naturally present in fresh meat. Possibly, it could involve everything from noses, lungs, hooves, horns carefully ground before lots of sugar, seasoning, as well as MSG, included to make it appealing. Salami, corned beef, smoked meat, beef jerky, sausages are all examples of processed meat. If you had a clue on how some of these products are made, probably you would not be eating then.
And do you know how mechanically separated pork/chicken are made? Typically, after removing all the lean meat, the chicken carcass, mostly comprising of bones, intestines, eyeballs and nose hairs are what they carefully modify to call processed meat! Shocking, really.
Bologna in particular, which seems appetizing like sliced chicken, actually contains sodium phosphates, sodium lactate, sodium dictate, sodium nitrite, potassium phosphate, dextrose extractives, sugar, potassium chloride, corn syrup, autolyzed yeast and sodium erythorbate. So here is the truth. Corn syrup, dextrose extractives are all sugar! In fact, the sugar ingredient is mentioned three times in this list. Moreover, autolyzed yeast is MSG. Of course, the sugar and the MSG are meant to enhance the food’s taste.
If you are a health-conscious individual, then ultimately you won’t compare any processed meat with the grass-fed and fresh beef. This now takes us back to one of the essential messages of LCHF. Never consume processed carbohydrate, instead, eat real foods. Equally, you should not feed on either processed oil or beef. Bear in mind that natural fats are far different from processed vegetable oils.
So what have we learned from this study?
Regarding health, vegetable and meat proteins are similar.You should never eat processed meats. Eat real and natural foods. Preferably fresh ones.Be extremely cautious and alert to the dangers of overhyped and misleading research in the media. On most occasions, the headline will tell you very little regarding reality.