Should You Eat Meat or Not Eat More Meat?

We come across a myriad of ever-changing recommendations on the internet when it comes to ensuring the overall nutrition. Let us understand whether or not you should eat more meat on a regular basis.

While one story might reflect “coffee is good for us,” you might soon enough come across the headline stating, “coffee is bad for health.” Some researchers claim that pregnant women can drink red wine while others ask you to hold up the same. Just lately, readers came across another contradictory statement with one indicating that eating eggs could contribute to heart-related problems, while the other saying that eggs can help in warding off heart-related diseases.

Recently, another contradiction was created after the Annals of Internal Medicine unfolded new guidelines. The new set of guidelines suggest that adults can go on with their unlimited consumption of unprocessed meat and red meat. The evidence of proving that you should not do so turns out quite weak.

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The guidelines created quite a stir as these opposed to the long-term advice from leading portals like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. This is because consuming more red meat could increase the overall risks of developing cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer in some cases –including colorectal cancer. In the year 2015, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared positively that consuming processed meat on a regular basis could lead to increasing the overall risks of colorectal cancer in the long run. Even red meat is the major cause of leading to the conditions of colorectal cancer at the same time.

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What to Believe?

The experts believe that the new guidelines do not claim that consuming more processed or red meat is right. Moreover, the guidelines also do not review the claim that doing so would not lead to potential health damages. The question is, “what should you believe?” As per the leading researchers and authors, it was revealed that the new guidelines do not (and cannot) explain the amount of meat that is considered safe to eat. At the same time, the guidelines also do not claim that eating more red or processed meat can be beneficial or not.

Dr. David Seres –Director at the Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, in the department of medical nutrition, says that the latest study has not come up with anything new. Typically, Dr. David was not moved by the results of the study. The difference in opinions lies in the willingness of the researchers as well as authors to be dedicated to adhering to making recommendations that are based on the overall strengths & quality of the findings. He adds that it can be quite confusing that how can a leading medical trend be both established properly amongst series of studies, while having weak evidence.

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How many Burgers Should You Eat?

The new study aimed at answering the question, “Will minimizing three servings of processed or red meat from the diet help in making a significant difference in the overall health of individuals?” Bradley Johnston – a leading epidemiologist at the Dalhousie University in Canada, said that the research team of the study had considered the concept of three-serving reduction to be attainable and realistic. Bradley is also renowned for having co-led the research behind the new guidelines of consuming meat.

It is considered that an average individual in Europe or North America is known to consume around 2-4 servings of processed or red meat on a weekly basis. A single serving of red meat is believed to be around the size of a deck of small cards (approx. 120-gram of hamburger). Similarly, a single serving of processed meat is believed to take half of the total space.

As discussed earlier, the research teams were not actually involved in answering the question afresh. They were concerned with analyzing thousands of similar studies already carried out on the given topic by other organizations. The process of analyzing the same by the team of researchers goes by the name as “GRADE.”

All You Need to Know About GRADE

In order to determine the logic that lies behind the all-new recommendations of the researchers upon eating or not eating more meat, GRADE is the latest methodology used by the study teams. The methodology is known to employ teams involving two individuals. The teams are responsible for judging thousands of studies behind some particular medical claims. After analyzing several studies, the method is known to rate whether or not the given study is supported by valid evidence.

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The Findings of the Study

The team of the study utilizing the GRADE method analyzed that the consumption of increased red meat has been positively linked with the increased overall risks of developing cardiovascular diseases in the long run. A meta-analysis carried out in 2015 revealed that less consumption of both processed as well as red meat helps in reducing the overall mortality along with decreasing the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases and even cancer, by as much as 11-18 percent.

Similar observations have been made with respect to the occurrence of colorectal cancer in association with increased consumption of red & processed meats. As per the stats of the World Health Organization (WHO), it has been observed that the cases of colorectal cancer have been reduced by as much as 17-18 percent when every single serving of red or processed meat was cut down from the day-to-day diets of the individuals. The meta-analysis that took place behind the all-new guidelines by the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed a significant drop in the overall rates of colorectal cancer after reduced consumption of red meat.

Over several years, researchers have flooded the general public with an ocean of messages that they are required to cut back on specific food items. Towards motivating people to actually adhere to the common public to accept the guidelines, it is imperative for the researchers to spend significantly on behavioral studies that might help in making such diets highly appetizing.

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