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McMaster study on red meat receives major backlash

A recent study by McMaster University‘s Gordon Guyatt concluded that the health risks associated with red meat are negligible.

Guyatt’s study, in which he oversaw 14 researchers over 7 different countries, set out to study the associated risk with consumption of red meats like burgers and steaks.

The results of the study concluded that the risks of eating steak and other red meats was slight, and likely not enough to necessitate a change in diet.

The discourse on red meat is extensive and multifaceted.

Many have criticized Guyatt’s study based on the scope of the findings. Guyatt and his team have stated that their findings suggest only that the health risks of red meat are not as great as previously determined, and that to some, the quality of life change that would arise from cutting it out of their diet would outweigh the risks.

 

The nutritional conclusions of this study do not acknowledge the other by-products of red meat.

Mass production of livestock has a massive carbon footprint, and many would debate that the moral discussion that comes along with the treatment of livestock overshadows the dietary discussion.

Ultimately, this discussion highlights some issues that arise from nutritional science. It is very difficult to be absolutely objective when it comes to an individual’s diet. As Guyatt stresses, there are millions of people that eat red meat that are in good health.

That does not mean that overindulgence in red meat is healthy.  Above all, it is most important to maintain a balanced diet.

Backlash has arisen from colleagues, physicians, and even the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, all who are critical of the inconclusive evidence of the study and recommend a healthier, plant-based alternative.

That being said, all have agreed that the most important result of this study has been the conversation that has emerged from it.

The field of nutrition is as broad as it is fluid. Almost every day, new information is being discovered, and prior schools of thought are being dispelled. The ability for nutritional scientists to discuss the merits of each other’s research only means greater development in the understanding of nutrition and diet.

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