One of the tenants of liberal orthodoxy is that red meat is bad. The pressure to stop eating red meat has gotten so pervasive that even Burger King and McDonald’s are now selling “hamburgers” that have no meat at all. Vegans of the world are celebrating.
But now an inconvenient research study has declared the long-held belief that red meat is bad questionable. The Annals of Internal Medicine just published a study by a team of international researchers who reviewed more than 130 articles and a dozen randomized trials and concluded that the evidence linking red meat to cancer, heart disease and mortality is flimsy.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board says most studies discerned weak associations between red meat and poor health, but other variables could have tainted the results. For instance, people who eat more hamburgers may also consume less nutritious diets. Maybe the artery clogger isn’t the meat but the combination of cheese, salt, secret sauce, soda and French fries. Could it be possible that those who eat more red meat also exercise less?
Few public health trials have actually been done on red meat and the researchers found that the most credible one still produced “low certainty” evidence “that diets lower in red meat may have little or no effect on all-cause mortality.”In other words, the evidence linking red meat to disease is very weak and should be viewed with skepticism.
This change of scientific conclusions regarding diet is not unusual. Thirty years ago the American Heart Association advocated low-fat diets believing they would reduce heart disease. But scientists now have concluded this was bad advice and may have contributed to the diabetes epidemic by causing people to eat more carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t comport with the liberal narrative about red meat. Therefore, rather than change their narrative they are challenging the scientific research even calling for the research to be shut down. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (an oxymoronic name at best), which promotes plant-based diets, has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the journal that published the research. (Seriously!) Not to be outdone, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health warned that the conclusions could “erode public trust in scientific research.”
The WSJ says Harvard health gurus also complained that the researchers should have studied the environmental impact of red meat in their review because “climate change and environmental degradation have serious effects on human health” and thus are “important to consider when making recommendations.”
In other words, when the scientific research doesn’t support your political narrative, shut it down!
(I suggest you stop feeling guilty when you occasionally enjoy red meat.)