“The evidence is just not there on red/processed meat. It’s also just not there on 2-3 portions of low-fat dairy, 30g fiber, 5-a-day, 14-21 alcohol units, 8 glasses of water… just numbers plucked out of the air.”
~ Dr. Zoe Harcombe, PhD (professor of public health nutrition)
We’ve always known that many healthy and long-lived societies ate a lot of meat. In fact, the single most longest living society, Hong Kong, eats the most meat in the world. It’s been well established in Eastern research that for Asians more meat correlates to better health outcomes.
In the West, the famous Roseto Penssylvanians also were great consumers of red meat and saturated fat. Like traditional Mediterraneans, they ate more lard than olive oil (olive oil was too expensive for everyday cooking and too much in demand for other uses: fuel, salves, etc). Amont long-lived societies, one of the few commonalities was lard, as pigs are adaptable creatures that can be raised almost anywhere.
The past correlations in some Western research showing the opposite were probably spurious data based on confounding factors such as the healthy user effect. Tell people that meat is unhealthy and then everyone who is healthy will avoid meat, but that tells one nothing about causation. Healthy people in general are higher in conscientiousness and tend to do whatever they are told is healthy, not only in terms of diet but also regular exercise and medical checkups.
We’ve also known for a while that Ancel Keys’ study showing a correlation to saturated fat was a weak link. When the data was re-analyzed, sugar showed a stronger correlation than saturated fat and some other factors showed a stronger correlation than both. It never really made sense to blame meat and animal fats, as these were not increasing in the diet as certain diseases were increasing. The only foods, besides fruits and vegetables, that increased during that period were refined starches, added sugar, and seed oils.
Red meat and saturated fat specifically had been on the decline in the American diet for decades when Ancel Keys began his research. There never was a logical reason for scapegoating these foods. Evidence-based healthcare isn’t always as evidence-based as the experts have led us to believe. And having got it wrong so severely, possibly having caused harm and shortened lives to hundreds of millions of people in the Western world, how are they going to save face and maintain their authority while admitting they gave bad advice for more than a half century? They can’t.
So, organizations like the AHA and ADA have been slowly and quietly backtracking their recommendations in moving them in the direction of what their critics have been saying for decades (Slow, Quiet, and Reluctant Changes to Official Dietary Guidelines; & American Diabetes Association Changes Its Tune). They’re hoping no one notices or calls them out on this covert admission of guilt. But with ever more research piling up in challenging their credibility, leading experts are feeling defensive and so have been lashing out.
Even the media has a hard time reporting fairly on the topic, as they spent so many decades contributing to the confusion. For instance, most mainstream ‘journalism’ keeps blaming cow farts for climate change which is a ludicrous and unscientific allegation (Carnivore Is Vegan). Why are so obsessed with animal foods when sugar is possibly the single greatest dietary threat we face? And why do we narrowly focus on diet while ignoring even more massive factors such as lead toxicity? It would be nice to finally have an informed and honest public debate about public health.
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Where is the Beef? The 6 Papers That Turned the World Up-Side-Down
by Angela A. Stanton
The New Guidelines On Meat Are Exposing the Fault Lines In Nutrition Advice
by Dr. Anthony Pearson