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Thread: Guardian report on red meat causing all manner of problems - what do we think?

  1. #1

    Default Guardian report on red meat causing all manner of problems - what do we think?

    Saw this today:

    Seems to me to be a classic case of 'correlation is not causation' but wondered if anyone else had any insights?


    (My first post here - so <waves>)

  2. #2


    Hi. Welcome to the forum.

    One paragraph from the article:

    Eating meat regularly did reduce the risk of someone suffering from the iron deficiency anaemia, though.

    Every cloud...

  3. #3


    Welcome APS59!

    Correlation does not equal causation indeed, but before we even get there I think there are a fair few other holes you can poke pretty easily! What is their plausible mechanism for red meat to cause diabetes? That's a bit of a head scratcher. And the thing that really leaps off the page is their constant conflating red meat with processed meat. That means red meat is being lumped in with burger buns, ketchup, chips, pizzas, sausage rolls and all the rest of the things that contain or are eaten alongside processed meat.

    The link with BMI alone should tell them it's not red meat per se but somebody's whole diet and lifestyle that is increasing rates of these diseases.

    That's all before looking to see if the entire thing is based on notoriously unreliable food questionnaires, and also very importantly, who funded the study and what biases they have that would no doubt emerge in the methods employed in the study.

    And all the increased risks cited are relative risks so it's impossible to tell if the absolute increase in risk, even if it were convincingly attributed to red and processed meat, is anything to worry about.

  4. #4
    Club Plus Member Sarah(sjc)'s Avatar
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    Mar 2010


    Doesn't differentiate between those cooking from scratch and those eating mechanically reclaimed and highly processed items. Or specify if burger munchers ate naked burgers or bun, dressings, fries and thick shakes at the same time. And this is always the flaw in these studies. Also, there is a tendency for plant-based diet followers to be concerned about other aspects of health, so they probably exercise and don't smoke...

    Personally, I think we are morally obliged to eat every part of an animal we kill, I have concerns about eating too much cured meat, and I still feel better and lose weight better if I eat plenty of vegetables (not spuds, grains or fruit) with my meals.

    And everything MrJDW said so much better!
    Last edited by Sarah(sjc); 2nd March 2021 at 05:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Super Member Mamie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Village in rural Lancashire


    I'm not even bothering to read the links. I know how Zoe feels about reports like this and I'm more than happy to trust her research than those that "suggest" links.
    I've been following this WOE for getting on for 12 years now and I'm heavy on the meat. I've not become a statistic yet.

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    Meat consumption and risk of 25 common conditions: outcome-wide analyses in 475,000 men and women in the UK Biobank study
    Paper is free full text online.

    The food frequency questionaire was checked here Validation of the Oxford WebQ Online 24-Hour Dietary Questionnaire Using Biomarkers
    I don't know about you but I suspect I would find it easier to make up answers if I was at home unsurpervised than if someone came to my home and went through the question with me?
    Some questions it's difficult. I always make my own beefburgers from raw meat minced at home, onion, an egg to glue them together seasoning and herbs. does that count a "processed meat" or unprocessed and is my home made beefburger as bad as a cheapo supermarket beefburger?

    I see the article states "On average, participants who reported consuming meat regularly (three or more times per week) had more adverse health behaviours and characteristics than participants who consumed meat less regularly." So it may well be the other adverse health behaviours that are causing the trouble. The full text explains
    . On average, participants who consumed unprocessed red and processed meat regularly (three or more times per week) were more likely to be men, older, of White European race, retired, have higher BMI, smoke and consume alcohol, and consume less fruit and vegetables, fibre, and fish and more poultry meat; they were also less likely to have attained a tertiary education, and among women to have two or more children, not use oral contraceptives, use hormone replacement therapy, or be postmenopausal compared with participants who consumed meat less than three times per week (P < 0.001 for heterogeneity between meat intakes for all baseline characteristics).
    I think you can believe what you want to believe in this type of research.
    Last edited by TedHutchinson; 2nd March 2021 at 05:53 PM.


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