Enjoy Your Steak - A Doctor Writes
The latest “red meat is bad” scare starts with cancer, then throws in heart disease and premature death. Scarier still, it’s a big study by the Harvard School of Medicine and is likely to be “statistically significant” — or at least as significant as any epidemiological research is likely to be. Ninety-nine per cent of people involved in car crashes are wearing shoes. It doesn’t mean shoes cause car crashes.
The problem with studies of diet is that it’s very hard to do a gold-standard, randomised, double-blind controlled trial. ....
Most studies of diet are retrospective, asking people to remember when they last ate a sausage, or they concentrate on certain religious faiths that aren’t supposed to eat certain meats. In the latter case, it could be their religious faith or a love of nuts that’s keeping them alive, rather than a lack of sausages. It’s hard in a dietary study to control for one variable at a time, because of the sheer variety of things we put in our mouths and other habits we have that may affect our longevity.....
As for red meat, it’s a great source of iron, particularly for women, and you can lower the risk by trimming off the fat and not frying it in some disgusting transfatty gloop that’s been sitting on the stove for three months. Enjoy!
Dr Phil Hammond
Prof David Spiegelhalter (Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge) popped up on R4 this afternoon to put into context what this "20% increase in risk" meant. He said that a healthy 40-year-old who ate red meat every day might (if this study is correct) reduce their expected age at death by one year - from 80 to 79. If you're over 75 that probably equates to about 3 days.