Bisher AKIL, MD

Eat Meat – really?

In General Health on November 6, 2019 at 12:07 am

Current dietary guidelines implicate unprocessed red meat and processed meat in conferring adverse cardiovascular (CV) and cancer outcomes. However, these guidelines all have one or more limitations (conflict of interest for the authors; observational studies and not clinical trials [RCT]; other factors affecting outcome)

In this new guideline, an independent panel (Sponsoring Organization: Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) international consortium) addresses each of these limitations, using findings from five comprehensive meta-analyses:¬† One meta-analysis included all randomized, controlled trial (RCT) evidence, three others included data from all observational studies with >1000 participants, and one concerned participants’ values and preferences about meat consumption. The panel’s evaluation produced the following summary results:

  1. Meta-analysis of the 12 RCTs showed no significant difference between patients who consumed higher versus lower quantities of red meat during longer than 10 years of follow-up for the outcomes of all-cause mortality, CV-related mortality, CV disease, or cancer-related mortality, including colorectal cancer.
  2. The observational studies showed that, for every 100 people who reduced processed or unprocessed meat intake by 3 servings per week, roughly 1 person avoided death and 1 person avoided a diagnosis of diabetes during 11 years of follow-up.

A panel suggests that adults may continue to consume unprocessed red meat and processed meat without incurring excess health risks.


Johnston BC et al. Unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption: Dietary guideline recommendations from the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium. Ann Intern Med 2019 Oct 1; [e-pub]. (

Appeared in NEJM Journal Watch: October 24,2019

Comments: These recommendations are actually weak and panel stated they are based on “low-certainty evidence”. Until there is better RCTs with less inherent biases(s), take these meats with a grain of salt-BA

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