How much meat to eat? The turnaround of science

How much meat to eat? The turnaround of science

There is no scientific evidence that eliminating meat from the diet is good for you . On the contrary, there are 5 big studies that confirm that eating meat is not harmful to health.

We can translate into these two sentences the results of the new nutrition guidelines of the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine , held by the American College of Physicians (ACP).

The guidelines, divided by pdf that everyone can read for free, list point by point the collection of three large meta-analyzes on a total sample of about 13 million participants, and a total of 4 systemic analyzes.

All this sea of ​​data, explained in detail, reveals that there is no risk of eating a diet that includes meat and even some good quality cured meats, as long as it is in very moderate doses. Unless there are ethical reasons why one does not want to consume meat.

Indeed, the editorial reads that what people think about meat is the result of a Dunning – Kruger effect .
That is: the less they know, scientifically speaking, about meat, the more people think they know.

Needless to tell you that the new position of the American College of Physician has sparked and is causing an uproar among doctors.
Who speak of a “dangerous turnaround”. But is it really so?
As scientists scorn themselves with editorials , interviews and commentaries, we try to understand how the ACP came to this conclusion.


  • First of all.
    No, there is no funding from powerful lobbies behind the ACP. In no way. And all the studies they have examined, that is, the meta-analyzes and systematic analyzes (the collection and examination of several studies on the same topic) are not funded by anyone.
    The studies looked at various health risks associated with the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
  • Risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

    Analyzing hundreds of studies they conclude that the scientific evidence linking meat consumption to the risk of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer is low or very low.

  • False beliefs about the omnivorous diet.

    Analyzing hundreds of studies they conclude that there are false beliefs about the diet which includes the consumption of meat. Like the one whereby those on a diet that includes meat eat too much of it. Or the one that if omnivores knew for sure that meat hurts they would not be able to give it up, almost as if an addiction existed.

  • Quantity of meat consumed and risk of all types of cancer.

    Analyzing 118 studies, they conclude that the benefits of reducing meat and derivatives to three weekly portions are minimal in relation to colorectal and intestinal cancer, very low for all other types of cancer.
    The included studies were not expected to have fewer than a thousand participants. Grand total for this report: over 6 million attendees.

  • How much meat to eat according to current global guidelines.

    Analyzing the studies that led to the guidelines adopted by the various countries, the ACP experts underline that these recommendations are based on epidemiological and observational studies only, but not on studies that correlate a cause (eating meat) to an effect (getting sick of more). However, this does NOT mean that researchers deny an association between meat consumption and disease risk.
    Here they state that there is insufficient evidence to say that meat causes disease (they speak of low or very low certainty of evidence as the case may be). They conclude that there are no health problems within the limits of current guidelines for meat consumption. In essence, they confirm what has already been written by AIRC regarding the consumption of meat and sausages by the IARC. Neither more nor less.

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