Can You Eat Red Meat Again?

This blog was originally published at N.E.W. Motivation Coaching in October 2019. NMC has closed and blogs are now posted here. Blog follows…

The red meat debate has heated up again. For years, you have heard to cut back on red meat and processed meat for your health. But, hold on. A recent review of five studies led to the declaration that you can eat these meats again.

Hold my Slim Jim and fire up the grill because baby, I’ve got a big juicy steak ready to go!

Your inclination is probably to roll your eyes and decide that no one really knows what they are talking about when it comes to nutrition. It sure does feel that way when the media gets hold of any headline that goes against the current guidelines. But let’s take a moment to explore this before you decide that your Beach Body Coach is the best person to tell you what to eat.

What does this “new” study say?

This new study looked at five other studies and decided that how much red meat someone eats doesn’t really impact their health that much after all. Their recommendation was that “most adults should continue to eat their current levels of red and processed meat.

I’m sorry but what kind of recommendation is that?

Who knows how much red and processed meat any one person is eating? How can that be the recommendation? It’s okay, keep on eating 5 pounds of meat a day! No worries!

Um, no.

Okay, let’s take to the research!

If you want to follow along, go to PubMed and drop “Gordon Guyatt meat” into the search bar. You will see that there are actually a handful of articles from 10/1/2019.

The one that interested me the most was this one because it is relevant for Dietary Guideline Considerations as stated in the title. This study states in its conclusions that “The panel suggests that adults continue current unprocessed red meat consumption (weak recommendation, low-certainty evidence). Similarly, the panel suggests adults continue current processed meat consumption (weak recommendation, low-certainty evidence).”  The bolding of the text is mine.

I’m certainly not changing my dietary choices based on weak recommendations from low-certainty evidence.

For a thorough review on the article telling you to pig out (get it?) on red meat, turn to Harvard Health. They always do a stellar job.

So, what should you do?

Well, first of all, stop getting your nutrition advice from the internet. And yes, that includes me.

I am A registered dietitian, but I am not YOUR registered dietitian. Your first stop should be your personal medical provider or dietitian because they know your family history and your health concerns. THAT is what determines how you should best eat for your health.

I’m going to keep on doing what I have been doing. These sensational headlines change nothing for me. I enjoy red meat now and again. I eat processed meats occasionally. I don’t eat huge portions of these foods when I enjoy them. I balance my meat intake out with vegetarian meals.

You want me to make nutrition easy? I’ll stick with my long-standing advice:

And you can pry my steak and bacon from my cold, dead hands.

PS – I haven’t eaten a Slim Jim for about 30 years!

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