Heart DiseaseNewsletterRed Meat

Meat & heart disease

Executive summary

* Another attack on meat was published in July 2021. This one concluded that 50g/day more UNprocessed meat was (slightly) associated with heart disease (9% relative risk), processed meat was a bit more associated (18% relative risk), and poultry wasn't associated with heart disease.

* The paper was a systematic review and meta-analysis, but of population studies. It thus suffered from the usual limitations of epidemiology: association not causation; relative not absolute risk; and the healthy person confounder.

* The relative risks were small, and the absolute risks were tiny.

* The paper suffered from additional limitations:
- Many of the individual studies failed to adjust for important differences – even male/female, smoking, energy intake and exercise.
- The majority of the individual studies found no associations with meat and heart disease.
- The Food Frequency Questionnaire is always a limitation.
- Plausible mechanisms were lacking as to why UNprocessed meat and processed meat, but not poultry would be associated with heart disease (notwithstanding that some studies included poultry in processed meat and over one third studies did not specify their definitions of meat at all).

* The bottom line with nutritional epidemiology is that it wants us to believe that if only junk food people would eat like quinoa and kale people, they would be as healthy as the quinoa and kale people. When, of course, these people are so different in so many ways.


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