Cutting back on red meat is standard medical advice to prevent cancer and heart disease — but a review of dozens of studies has concluded that the potential risk is low and evidence uncertain.
In new guidelines published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a panel of researchers from seven countries suggested that “adults continue current unprocessed red meat consumption.”
The advice — which immediately drew a sharp reaction from other experts — added that adults should also “continue current processed meat consumption.”
The research, published in the journal edited by the American College of Physicians, analyzed multiple studies that, taken together, showed reducing red meat consumption by three servings per week could lower cancer mortality by seven deaths per 1,000 people.
Researchers said any such decline was modest and that they had found only a “low” degree of certainty about the statistic.
They added that the quality of evidence linking processed meat with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes was “very low.”
“There are very small risk reductions in cancer, heart disease and diabetes, however the evidence is uncertain,” Bradley Johnston, an epidemiology professor at Canada’s Dalhousie University and director of the NutriRECS group that put together the guidelines, told AFP.
“So there may be a reduction — or there may not be.
“People need to make their own decisions. We are giving them the best estimate of the truth.”
– Steaks, sausages back on menu? –
The researchers said they want to change the “old school” approach of giving general nutritional recommendations, and to bring more focus on evidence of individual benefit.
“People should look at this and hopefully make more well-informed personal choices, rather than being told what to do by authoritative organizations,” Johnston said.
But eating less red meat and processed meat has been a cornerstone of dietary guidance for decades in many countries and from leading health groups.
The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer says that processed meat is carcinogenic, while red meat is “probably carcinogenic.”
In response to the latest guidelines, the World Cancer Research Fund said it would not change its advice.
“We maintain our confidence in the rigorous research conducted for 30 years,” said its director of research, Giota Mitrou.
Marji McCullough, epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, said the researchers had taken into account people’s personal values and preferences.
“It’s kind of like saying: ‘we know helmets can save lives, but some people still prefer the feeling of the wind in their hair when they ride bikes. And let’s face it, most people won’t crash’,” she said.
“But everyone agrees you should wear a helmet.”
Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at Britain’s Open University, said the lack of hard scientific evidence meant there were few clear answers.
“Depressingly, all this tends to indicate that after all these years and all these millions of research participants, we still don’t know much,” he said.
Mayors rush to impose curfews as civil unrest rocks cities from coast-to-coast
Minneapolis was the first to impose curfews designed to prevent protests of police violence after Mayor Jacob Frey imposed a curfew on Friday.
On Saturday other cities followed suit, with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan imposing a curfew set to start only 14 minutes after her announcement.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has issued a curfew for downtown LA.
Protesters give Donald Trump a one-finger salute as Marine One flies over DC protests
President Donald Trump returned to Washington, DC on Saturday as large crowds of protesters fill the city's streets.
Trump had flown to Florida to see the launch of the SpaceX Starship and returned as the sun was going down.
BuzzFeed News reporter Ellie Hall captured a picture of Marine One approaching the White House -- and being welcomed back to town with raised middle fingers.
Trump, in Marine One, just did a flyover of the protest area outside the White House.
Trump announces he has unilaterally decided to let Putin back into the G7 Summit: report
President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he intends to let Russia attend the next Group of Seven summit.
Since 2014, Russia's membership in the organization has been suspending in response to Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea. That changed the name from the G8 Summit to the G7 Summit.
The announcement came from pool reporter Gabby Orr of Politico, who said Trump will also invite South Korea, Australia and India to the next summit, which he is postponing until September.
More via pooler: “‘I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,’ he said. Alyssa Farah said this is bringing together our traditional allies to talk about how to deal with the future of China.”