“Did you see the Loma Linda study that shows eating even small amounts of red meat will cause an early death?”
“Yes I did. What did you think of the study?”
“Uh…I didn’t read it.”
To be honest I got pretty excited when I saw the headline:
Eating small amounts of red and processed meats may increase risk of early death
Click bait works. So I read the article. Then I went to the the journal Nutrients downloaded the actual study and read it.
Red and Processed Meat and Mortality in a Low Meat Intake Population
Decent study but remember correlation is not causation. And the inherent limitations in most studies of this type will be measurement error in dietary assessment as the research team itself fully acknowledges. As I was reading this study my attention turned to this:
During a mean follow-up of 11.8 years, there were 7961 deaths, of which 2598 were due to CVD and 1873 were due to cancers. Compared with zero-intake subjects, those with the highest intake of unprocessed red meat were younger, less educated, and less physically active. They also had higher prevalence of current smoking, alcohol use, and slightly higher BMI. Regarding dietary characteristics, they tended to have lower intakes of cruciferous vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds, and higher intakes of dairy, eggs, unprocessed poultry, and processed meat.
AHS-2 participants were requested at enrollment to complete a quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) consisting of more than 200 food items. Unprocessed red meat intake was reported as two items in the FFQ: “hamburger, ground beef (in casserole, meatballs, etc.)” and “beef or lamb as a main dish (e.g., steak, roast, stew, and pot pies)”. Processed meat was reported as: “processed beef, lamb (e.g., sausage, salami, and bologna)” and “processed chicken or turkey (e.g., turkey bologna, and turkey ham)”. Pork was classified as processed meat because most of the pork products listed in the single pork question in the FFQ were processed (i.e., “pork (bacon, sausage, ham, chops, ribs, and lunch-meat)”). The frequency of intake ranged from “never or rarely” to “2+ per day”, and serving sizes consisted of three levels (a half serving, standard serving (3–4 oz.), and one-and-a-half servings).
I am still not a vegan.