Red flags about new study saying red meat isn't so bad

Hosted by

Raw marinated steak. Credit: Pixabay.

A new analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine says red meat and processed meat might not be so bad for you after all, so no need to cut back. This is after years of research saying eating red meat can be linked to cancer and heart disease. Many people are objecting to this new study, including Dr. Nigel Brockton, Vice President of Research at the American Institute for Cancer Research.

He points out that the researchers behind the study, who all have backgrounds in nutrition, collected data they deemed relevant, then analyzed it via statistical techniques.

"Unfortunately this group has come up with the same findings that we do: that eating red meat increases your risk of colorectal cancer," Brockton says. "But then on the basis of the types of studies that have been done [observational data], they've dismissed that evidence and said, 'Carry on regardless.'" 

He says the methods they used to evaluate the research was designed for looking at pharmaceuticals and drugs. "It doesn't work so well when you're dealing with free living humans and an exposure that lasts a lifetime." 

Brockton emphasizes that the underlying research has not changed: people who eat more meat have a higher risk of certain cancers.

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating no more than 12-18 ounces of cooked red meat per week. 

They recommend minimizing processed meat, which they found has a much stronger carcinogenic effect. "That doesn't mean you can never have a hot dog or you can never have a pepperoni pizza. But we just recommend that people really limit their intake," says Brockton.

--Written by Amy Ta, produced by Devan Schwartz