A controversial article on red meat had an unintended consequence: it unmasked the ties between science and industry. Not the meat industry, but the "anti-meat" health-advocacy industry, which reaches into academia and commercial interests. JAMA takes a stance. Good for them, which is good for us.
The science of our health and nutrition has been a hot mess for some time, with multiple conflicting studies all claiming the scientific truth. The recent study on red meat's role in our health is different in several meaningful ways: in how it reports outcomes; how it communicates the certainty of the findings; its intellectual transparency; and to whom it is addressed. Let’s break it down.
“An extra burger meal a day eats the brain away," is the sort of arresting headline you’d expect from a tabloid. But it actually comes directly from a recent university press release, relating to a review of the evidence around diet and dementia published in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. Nutritionist Angela Dowden assures us that a burger will not eat your brain.
The New York Times recently swallowed whole a study which concluded that those who eat meat die 23% more quickly than those who don't. But the meat study sounded fishy. And it was. ACSH advisor and expert biostatistician Dr. Stan Young turns the meat study into hamburger.
There are reports that as little as one piece of bacon a day will increase your risk of colon and rectal cancer. A closer look at the study suggests that while bacon is certainly a risk factor in being a pig, its impact on humans may not be as great as the media claims.
Just ahead of barbecue season, here's something to stress about: grilling and charring red meat, chicken, and fish at high temps could lead to high blood pressure, according to a recent study from the American Heart Association. But don't cancel your upcoming BBQ invites just yet — it's all in the way you cook your burger, and how often.
A recent study on how olive oil affects HDL and LDL (good and bad cholesterol in your body) has us wondering.. Is all cholesterol created equal?
Perhaps the strangest medical phenomenon discovered in recent years is a link between the lone star tick and an allergy to red meat. The bite of a lone star tick exposes a person to a small carbohydrate called alpha-gal. In a handful of people, this exposure elicits an abnormal immune response that produces a type of antibody called IgE, which causes allergies. Because red meat also contains alpha-gal, people who have been sensitized to the carbohydrate from a tick bite can develop life-threatening anaphylaxis if they consume pork or beef.
The importance of protein for muscle-building and cell functions was discovered in the 1830's, but there is still some controversy regarding what's considered an ideal source of protein for overall health. A recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association directly compared animal protein with plant protein, and it produced some interesting results.
In an illuminating essay in the New York Times, Dr. A.E. Carroll, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, dissects the current tendency to point at one class of nutrients as being the bad one responsible for most of the current diet-related ills.