Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Another Study Showing the Futility of Studying Red Meat and Mortality

"I'm sure many of you have seen reports on a recent study published in the journal Nature suggesting a possible mechanism linking red meat consumption to heart disease. The day after one such report was published in the New York Times, I received numerous emails and numerous Facebook and Twitter messages from concerned red meat enthusiasts. This is understandable, but rest assured it's not yet time to switch over to soy burgers."

Later, he continues by pointing out the fallacy of the diet-heart conjecture, and how by convincing people to eat carbs vice meat it has caused inestimable harm to many.
As Chris concludes: "The diet-heart hypothesis should be a cautionary tale that prevents us from jumping to rash conclusions based on limited evidence."

As to the epidemiological study in question, the fact that it received any press points to the scientific illiteracy of the press and those who consume the offerings of the same. There are epidemiological studies that show many results - Kresser details a few that show no relationship between red meat consumption and heart disease, but rightly points out:
"Even if red meat intake is associated with a higher risk of CVD (or any other health problem), such studies don't tell us that red meat is causing the problem. If you're new to this concept, I suggest reading these excellent articles by Denise Minger and Chris Masterjohn."

CK also points out that one of the predictable confouders of epidemiological studies is the 'healthy user bias." Folks who go against cultural norms and eschew things like red meat also do other "healthy" things and sometimes, one of those "healthy" behaviors actually is.  It's quite difficult to identify and tease apart the influence of those other behaviors on the data in an epidemiological study.

Kresser then addresses the next big wave of discovery - at least that's what I think it will be - which is on the potent influence gut bacteria have on health. 

"Gut dysbiosis (an imbalance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the gut) and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO, a condition involving an inappropriate overgrowth of bacteria in the gut) have been linked to health problems as diverse as skin disease, depression, anxiety, autoimmunity, and hair loss."

This post by Chris is a gold mine of detailed analysis, and I recommend you read the whole article if interested in the topic. In the meantime, enjoy your steak and bacon and burgers.  I think the Mormons teach us what we need to know about red meat, and the lesson is - they eat more than any other population on the earth and have the best mortality rate as well.

"If ever you needed proof the world is heavily populated by utter morons, all you'd need to do is examine a recent study appearing in Nature Medicine, wonder how supposedly educated people coudl ever contrive such utter rubbish, then marvel at the ease with which this pseudoscientific slop has been uncritically soaked up by media outlets and individuals all around the world.
"I'm talking, of course, about the current "Carnitine in Red Meat Causes Heart Disease" nonsense doing the rounds in the mainstream media, that preeminent source of misinformation that plays a key role in keeping the general population as dumbed down, confused and distracted as possible."

AC may be missing the boat on calories and causation, but he does have a way with words.

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