Based on studies involving millions of people, researchers at Dalhousie and McMaster universities found that lowering red or processed meat consumption had little effects in reducing the absolute risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, cancer, diabetes or death from any cause.
“We suggest that individuals continue their current consumption,” the authors write in the Annals of Internal Medicine. More clearly, “we cannot say with any certainty that eating red or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes or heart disease,” said Dr. Bradley Johnston, lead author of the new recommendations. He also insisted there were high quality systematic reviews resulting in recommendations. According to this, „any health benefits from staying away from meat are uncertain, and, if they exist at all, are very small.”
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared bacon, sausages, biltong, beef jerky and other salted, cured, smoked or similarly prepared meats carcinogenic, and red meat “probably” carcinogenic, too. Canada’s new food guide recommends Canadians choose proteins that come from plants, and not animals. American dietary guidelines recommend limiting red meat to approximately one weekly serving. But what is the truth ? Nutritional studies are mostly observational, meaning they can’t prove cause-and-effect. Researchers follow participants over time and observe what happens. Probably the old rule to maintain an equilibre should be the best. For the majority of people continuing their red and processed meat consumption is probably the right approach.