« How Many Green Jobs In Scotland | Main | Hot Causes Cold And Hot And Dry Maybe »

Enjoy Your Steak - A Doctor Writes

Don’t worry, you won’t suffer death by T-bone steak | The Times

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.

Chris Miller


One of the authors of the "study", Dean Ornish, runs an alternative therapy institute in California and has a diet book which advocates avoiding all of the following:

"Meat of all kinds -- red and white, fish and fowl (if we can't give up meat, we should at least eat as little as possible), Oils and oil-containing products, such as margarine and most salad dressings, Avocados, Olives, Nuts and seeds, Dairy products (other than the nonfat ones), Sugar and simple sugar derivatives -- honey, molasses, corn syrup, and high-fructose syrup, Alcohol, anything commercially prepared that has more than two grams of fat per serving."

How often do we hear of the health benefits of, say, avocado, or nuts, or olives and olive oil. Google "health benefits of ...." and put each of the above foods, including red meat, including red wine, including honey etc... into the space. You'll find some researcher somewhere proclaiming the health benefits as well as those telling us we'll die tomorrow if we eat them.

To protect you from health scares you could read "Junk Science Judo: Self-Defense against Health Scares and Scams" http://www.amazon.com/Junk-Science-Judo-Self-Defense-against/dp/1930865120 and to find out the bogus science behind the claims, try and get a copy of "The Epidemiologists - Have they got scares for you", by John Brignell at Numberwatch.co.uk, although I think it may be out of print. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Epidemiologists-Have-They-Got-Scares/dp/0953910822.

I totally agree, plus, everything has a health benefit but anything used in large quantities will have bad effects, so as long as you don't over do any of those foods, you will be fine.

Post a comment