Minimal health risks associated with red meat consumption: study says
A new study conducted by researchers at the USA suggests that there are minimal health risks associated with eating red meat.
The study comes amid years of research suggesting important links between red meat consumption and health problems such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.
In an abstract of the study, scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) said previous research findings were purely observational and unable to determine causation convincingly. .
“Previous meta-analyses evaluating the effects of red meat intake have generated mixed findings and do not formally assess the strength of the evidence,” the study reads.
“We conducted a systematic review and implemented meta-regression, relaxing conventional assumptions of log-linearity and incorporating between-study heterogeneity, to assess relationships between raw red meat consumption and six potential health outcomes.
“We found weak evidence of an association between raw red meat consumption and colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and ischemic heart disease.”
Steven Novella, a Yale neurologist and president of the New England Skeptical Society, said the health risks of regular consumption of red meat are almost non-existent.
“The evidence of a direct health or vascular risk from eating meat regularly is very low, to the point where there is probably no risk,” he said.
“However, there is more evidence of a health risk from eating too few vegetables. That’s really the risk of a high meat diet, those meat calories are displacing vegetable calories.”
Although the study acknowledged some health risks from consuming raw red meat, it said the evidence was insufficient to make general assumptions.
“While there is some evidence that eating raw red meat is associated with increased risk of disease incidence and mortality, it is weak and insufficient to make stronger or more conclusive recommendations,” he says.
“More rigorous and well-informed research is needed to better understand and quantify the relationship between raw red meat consumption and chronic disease.”