New study on red and processed meat stirs debate

There's new medical advice out on eating red and processed meats and it's sure to generate a lot of debate.

Americans like their steaks, burgers, and hot dogs - on average eating them about 3 or 4 times a week.

However, in recent years, health organizations have urged people to cut their meat consumption, to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.



Now, a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine is challenging that advice.

The advice to eat less meat came from past studies linking those foods to higher rates of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Researchers writing the new guidelines wanted to verify that evidence.

So, they gathered an international group of nutrition experts to review the studies. The experts say there wasn't much to prove that eating meat hurts health, or that cutting it helps.



"We did not find a statistically significant or important association in the risk of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes among those that consumed less red meat," says lead study author Bradley Johnston, Ph.D.

The American Cancer Society disagrees with the study.

It says, by the author's own criteria, "We calculated cutting red and processed meats could prevent 8,000 cancer deaths over the lifetime of 1 million people."

The ACS says the study assumes that the loss of 8,000 lives is an acceptable risk, but it says no preventable risk is OK.
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