Last week, I reported some stellar news — that new nutritional research debunks the decades’ old advice to curb red meat consumption for your health.
Over the years, nutritional science has trended toward a plant-based diet, where animal fats and proteins were demonized and linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
However, new research conducted by an international team of experts say the previously published “science” is weak.
As one would expect, many in the health community, whose livelihoods, reputations and careers rest upon these widely accepted dietary recommendations, didn't appreciate the findings of this report and are now up in arms.
In fact, Gordon Guyatt, a Canadian doctor and researcher at Hamilton’s McMaster University who worked on this series of papers, said the elicit blowback from the report has been “over the top” and “hysterical.”
In an article published by The Canadian Press, Guyatt told reporters, "It's completely predictable, and they're doing themselves no favors from my point of view about these sort of hysterical statements.It shouldn't be published, let's keep it out of public view, let's not have scientific discourse operate as it should operate. It's hysterical. It's a hysterical response.”
It should come as no surprise that the Physicians Committee of Responsibly Medicine (PCRM) (an arm of the Humane Society of the United States) had something to say.
Calling the research a “major disservice to publish health,” PCRM David Jenkins said, he “would discourage individuals from avoiding meat and from replacing meat with more healthful food choices, putting them at risk for major health problems. All I'm saying is: if somebody says there's a weak chance that if you walk across the street, you'll get shot, I would rather stay on the opposite side of the street. The evidence against us giving up meat may be weak, but it's there. And the evidence for us eating more meat is not there.”
Beyond its critique of the report, PCRM has also filed a federal petition to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission asking for a retraction.
Other organizations in Canada and around the globe have also chimed in their distaste the research, but when it comes to nutrition, many of them appear to be basing their critics based on other factors outside of weighing the healthfulness of food. Instead, they are focusing on pre-conceived notions about things like climate change and animal welfare.
Despite the backlash, Guyatt said, "I'm sure there are millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people who eat a lot of meat who are in good health.”
In referencing his work and the fevered opposition he has faced so far following the publication of the study, Guyatt said, “They've taken a pretty extreme stance and pushed very hard. And that's been going on for a long time. When that is fundamentally challenged, it is very threatening. And when it is challenged by credible academics with compelling evidence on which to challenge it, that intensifies the threat.”
Despite the popular mantra that meat will kill you, the nutritional benefits from consuming beef are really hard to deny. Packed with 10 essential nutrients, including zinc, iron and protein, as well as brain-enriching, heart-healthy fats, beef could be considered a super food, one that promotes satiety, energy, muscle retention and many other benefits.
And, according to an article that appeared in FarmingUK titled, “Overwhelming majority of healthcare professionals recommend red meat,” 95% of doctors who attended the Nursing in Practice Conference, said they would recommend red meat as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
According to the article, “Respondents believe that red meat is not only a key source of protein, but the survey also showed that nurses were able to identify that red meat contains a variety of additional nutritional benefits including iron, zinc, amino acids, vitamin D and importantly vitamin B12, which is only available from animal sources. And a lack of Vitamin B12 in the diet can lead to extreme tiredness, reduced energy and muscle weakness.”
Dietitian Carrie Ruxton said, “Red meat contributes to heart health; normal vision; growth and maintenance of muscle; mental function; anti-fatigue; immune function; natural antioxidants; strong bones and teeth; hormone regulation; healthy skin, hair and nails. It is perfectly safe and overall it makes a very good contribution to health.”
I can’t think of a better note to end this blog post on than that! Despite the backlash, I hope this research continues to be spread far and wide! Eat red meat without guilt or fear; it’s good for you and the planet!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.