New guidelines published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggest there is no need to reduce red or processed meat consumption.
A panel of researchers at McMaster and Dalhousie universities determined that cutting back on meat has little impact on health, and most adults should continue their current level of red and processed meat consumption.
The study consisted of five systematic reviews.
The first four reviews were randomized controlled trials and observational studies looking at the impact of the meats on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes.
In one of the reviews of 12 trials with 54,000 participants, the panel did not find a statistically significant correlation between meat consumption and the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer.
A fifth review looked at consumers’ attitudes and health values around eating red and processed meats.
The consensus was they eat meat because they view it as healthy, like the taste, and are reluctant to change their diet.
However, the study has been met with criticism from organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Harvard scientists said in a statement that the study conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”