09.30.2019

No Need To Cut Back On Red Meat? Controversial New 'Guidelines' Lead To Outrage

No Need To Cut Back On Red Meat? Controversial New 'Guidelines' Lead To Outrage PeopleImages/Getty Images

A new set of analyses published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the widespread recommendations to cut back on red and processed meats.

The prominent medical journal has also published a new recommendation from a panel of scientists, many of whom are not nutrition experts: "The panel suggests adults continue current processed meat consumption," according to the guideline paper. In other words: no need to cut back.

Scores of nutrition experts say this conclusion contradicts a large body of evidence, from decades of observational studies, that has found that people who consume less red and processed meats, over time, have lower rates of heart disease and death from certain cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Recommendations from the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, as well as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, all call for limiting red meats and processed meats.

"I am outraged and bewildered," says nutrition scientist Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford University. "This is perplexing, given the ... clear evidence for harm associated with high red meat intake," says Frank Hu, the chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

For the complete story, visit NPR.org/EatingandHealth.