Red Meat Kills?

image: Charles Valek
image: Charles Valek

It’s a sad day people.

This morning, I was going through my emails and came upon this study.

This horrible, horrible study.

This decade-long study, involving the 322,263 men and 223,390 women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.

This study, which tries to pry the burger from my hand by telling me that red and processed meat intakes were associated with a 20 to 40% increase in total mortality.

20 to 40%!!!

Hmmmm, 20 to 40%?


Question: Would you drastically reduce (or eliminate altogether) your consumption of red meat if you thought that it would improve your odds of dying from cancer by 20 to 40%?

If not, why?


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  1. Already a veggie. While I was never one to push it on others I have noticed that ‘the boys’ – my partner and his college buddy friends now all grown up – have also drastically reduced their red meat consumption opting for lean turkey burgers on the BBQ in summers now.

  2. I only eat red meat once every couple of weeks, though I aim to eat it every week, because of the iron content.
    I keep processed meats out of my diet as much as possible, but I love red meat, and would not eliminate completely from my diet….For me to want to live till 120 years old – there needs to be something to live for…

  3. You’re right to call it a horrible study. That study has been pretty through debunked around the internet, and fails to control for some many variables as to be almost worthless.

    It would be more accurate for them to say “People who show little regard for their health are more likely to die”.

    Correlation does not equal causation.

  4. If you include red meat and processed meat together then the study is already flawed. Because I wouldn’t argue that processed meat is good for you but would argue that grass fed red meat is good for you. I remember someone telling me that studies like this in Europe show no such link between meat intake and heart disease and this is probably something to do with the fact that Europeans eat less processed meat.

  5. If one looks carefully at the nutritional compositions of red vs. processed meat, it is clear that they shouldn’t be clumped together as one or even a composite variable. The study is flawed.
    I DO stay away from processed meats (high sat fat, VERY high sodium, and high in ??????), and eat red meat no more than once a week, but make a conscious effort to choose lean or 5% fat.

  6. Red meat isn’t going to kill you. But like everything else, eat it in moderation. If you want to eat a hamburger every couple of weeks, do it, just don’t go get it from a fast food place. Get a real burger from a place that makes their own patties or even better, grinds their own meat. That’s where the good stuff is.

  7. Wow, this study is seriously flawed. How in the world could you lump all “red meat” together? That is making a (very big and incorrect) presumption that corn-fed beef is the same as grass-fed beef which is the same as wild venison.

    I’m guessing they used corn-fed beef in the study which I would argue is one of the most problematic foods concerning public health. In comparison, 100% grass-fed beef (grass being the ruminant’s natural diet) is one of the healthiest things you can eat.

    Both red meat, each nutritionally VERY different.

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