3

votes

How Can I Respond to This Anti-Red Meat Study?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Okay, so given that I'm 17, and live with my parents, paleo eating has been really controversial (both cost-wise and abnormal-wise). Anyway, they don't believe a thing I tell them about it, which is frustrating. Today, my dad emailed me this link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7959128.stm

How can I decimate the thought process behind this study?

I really thank you guys for anything you can give me.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 03:13 AM

To the Fat Head website? http://www.fathead-movie.com/

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 25, 2010
at 09:32 AM

So somebody send a link

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 24, 2010
at 03:32 PM

Eva, the statistical model they use tries to account for the smoking, if you look at table 2 it's the adjusted model.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on July 24, 2010
at 05:14 AM

Plus, if they're *buying* the food there's no hiding the non-white meat from them.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 23, 2010
at 09:56 PM

Emphasizing white meat in front of them is deceptive and counter-productive, IMO, since it is like agreeing that red meat is bad, which it isn't.

34d0dfe6cb1a477bd2b5f984c2af29a9

(493)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:48 PM

Funny, I actually saw that one too, I have his RSS feed bookmarked, too.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:43 PM

I like the last part about cherry picking

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:40 PM

another tool you could use is the documentary Fat Head. it's not really about Paleo, but it's got the low carb science down and the bro even lowers his bad cholesterol on a low carb fast food diet.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:40 PM

Watch the video, show it to parents

F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:10 PM

Great answer Eva, my Nephew is dealing with the same thing, just avoiding bread becomes a battle let alone all carbs and sugar and increasing meat! It is probably not possible right now to be able to get any pastured/grass fed meat so just eat more white meat around your folks and tell them you are being healthy! Studies like this are so obviously flawed when they start out with "red or processed meat"... Just find the path of least resistance with the parents and keep educating yourself!

34d0dfe6cb1a477bd2b5f984c2af29a9

(493)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:36 PM

The only problem is they control the food list.

34d0dfe6cb1a477bd2b5f984c2af29a9

(493)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:35 PM

I did read GCBC, and was really into it for maybe the first 300 pages, then I kinda lost the vocabulary he was using and ended up skimming a bit. But what I read was pretty convincing.

34d0dfe6cb1a477bd2b5f984c2af29a9

(493)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:33 PM

Thanks Stephen for editing the title!

29e2bf6b555322d39d022126e12b08cd

(370)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:33 PM

Good Calories Bad Calories is a great book but it's also a very long, detailed book and you or your dad might not want to slog through its many hundreds of pages. Instead you might want to check out Taube's NYTimes magazine article from 2002 which shows ample evidence that saturated fat does not cause obesity, heart disease or any of the other diseases it's been implicated in: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:12 PM

Don't forget not separating poor omega 3 meat from wild grassfed

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:54 PM

Exactly what I was thinking - ridiculous conclusion to make

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:53 PM

Exactly. It's an epidemiological study. All it shows is a correlation but it does not look for confounder like that most red meat eaters are probably eating them in hamburgers with coke and a side of fries.

35a9207254408c6907f7082640c7bfaa

(822)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:33 PM

Hang in there man. The good news is that you are on the right track diet-wise early in life. Even if you have to wait a few years to adopt a fully paleo diet due to parental constraints you will still be ahead of many who didn't start until much later in life.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:11 PM

perhaps we could edit the question title to be more descriptive? "How can I respond to this anti-fat study?" perhaps also important is the fact this q deals with dealing with family as well.

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6 Answers

best answer

9
1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:42 PM

Print out and read the full text with your parents, "Meat Intake and Mortality A Prospective Study of Over Half a Million People"

Look closely at:

Couple of things to take notice of:

  1. In table 1, BMI and odds of being a current smoker (or having quit less than a year ago) increase along with red meat intake.
  2. Vigorous physical activity and education both decrease as red meat intake increases (Table 1)
  3. It is a 10 year follow up on people ages 50-71, it has no data on what they ate at age 17
  4. It is a retrospective cohort, and only can discern correlation, not causation.

The other big point is, the red meat these people are eating is not the red meat you are eating (pasture raised, grassfed, no antibiotics/hormones etc).

Print out this recent review from the Journal of Animal Science, "Effects of conventional and grass-feeding systems on the nutrient composition of beef"

Look at table 5, the grass feed beef had statistically significant higher levels of SFA, omega-3 and CLA.

Show them some of the research of William Lands & Joseph Hibbeln. This power point from a recent NIH seminar is an excellent summary of some of their findings. "Nutritional Armor"

Show them Dr. Cordains published research, and explain how cherry picking bad reporting from the BBC on health science is not an effective way to establish healthy eating guidelines.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:43 PM

I like the last part about cherry picking

8
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:10 PM

The greater battle is getting them to understand not just that this study is incorrect but that they all are. The best ammo is Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. It goes through many of the studies and the history of the 'science' that claims saturated fat or even fat in general is bad. If you haven't read it, check it out. It's dense but I'd say if you are off reading Tale of Two City's in High School then this book should be easy and far more interesting.

Bonus if you can get your Dad and Mom to read it. It will help them see your perspective and perhaps save their lives.

Taubes has an undergrad in physics and applied engineering and his early science writing career focused on physics. He's a smart guy who spent the entire book analyzing and debunking studies like the one your dad sent you. He has won an science journalism award for his article critiquing the demonizing of salt in diet as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Taubes

Here is a link to the book on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Controversial-Science/dp/1400033462/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279897754&sr=8-1

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 03:13 AM

To the Fat Head website? http://www.fathead-movie.com/

34d0dfe6cb1a477bd2b5f984c2af29a9

(493)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:35 PM

I did read GCBC, and was really into it for maybe the first 300 pages, then I kinda lost the vocabulary he was using and ended up skimming a bit. But what I read was pretty convincing.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:40 PM

Watch the video, show it to parents

34d0dfe6cb1a477bd2b5f984c2af29a9

(493)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:48 PM

Funny, I actually saw that one too, I have his RSS feed bookmarked, too.

29e2bf6b555322d39d022126e12b08cd

(370)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:33 PM

Good Calories Bad Calories is a great book but it's also a very long, detailed book and you or your dad might not want to slog through its many hundreds of pages. Instead you might want to check out Taube's NYTimes magazine article from 2002 which shows ample evidence that saturated fat does not cause obesity, heart disease or any of the other diseases it's been implicated in: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:40 PM

another tool you could use is the documentary Fat Head. it's not really about Paleo, but it's got the low carb science down and the bro even lowers his bad cholesterol on a low carb fast food diet.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 25, 2010
at 09:32 AM

So somebody send a link

8
902343b943820474d7fc2e370c254c36

on July 23, 2010
at 02:58 PM

The study lumps red meat and processed meat together. You can't do that. Eating proper portions of lean red meat is very different from eating hot dogs every day. The study also doesn't differentiate between lean red meat and fatty red meat. Very poor science in my opinion. It's almost as if the study was molded to fit a pre-determined conclusion. I would be curious to see the motives behind the study. I'm guessing PETA or vegan roots.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:12 PM

Don't forget not separating poor omega 3 meat from wild grassfed

4
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:03 PM

The study not only lumps red meat with processed meat and does not consider confounders like carb intake, but it also found a slight beneficial effect for white meat. My advice, tell your parents that just to be safe, you will eat more white meat since it has a protective effect. Then be sure to eat more white meat IN THEIR PRESENCE. ;-) You might also want to dig up better quality studies that show that eating meat is good for blood lipids, etc. There are tons of these in the paleo community and on paleo blogs. Also, what works really well for me is to tell them that you have cut out all nonhealthy foods like noodles and sugar and cake and cookies and soda. Therefore, the end result is you eat more meat, veggies, and fruit. Tell them the meat is healthier than the cookies and noodles.

What I do in general is tell people I have cut out all processed sugars and starches because they are bad for the blood and body weight and they contain very little nutrients. "Low carb" has a negative connotation so I just don't mention that word if I want people to listen. I just say I'm cutting out processed food. Everyone likes the sound of that and I don't get any arguments. If they then give me some story about whole grain, I point out to them that almost all whole grain is made with a lot of white flour with very little actual whole grain and very little actual nutrients. This gets people hooked in and I only speak further if I think they are open to it. Otherwise, I stick with the spin that goes down the best.
-Eva

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on July 24, 2010
at 05:14 AM

Plus, if they're *buying* the food there's no hiding the non-white meat from them.

F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on July 23, 2010
at 05:10 PM

Great answer Eva, my Nephew is dealing with the same thing, just avoiding bread becomes a battle let alone all carbs and sugar and increasing meat! It is probably not possible right now to be able to get any pastured/grass fed meat so just eat more white meat around your folks and tell them you are being healthy! Studies like this are so obviously flawed when they start out with "red or processed meat"... Just find the path of least resistance with the parents and keep educating yourself!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 23, 2010
at 09:56 PM

Emphasizing white meat in front of them is deceptive and counter-productive, IMO, since it is like agreeing that red meat is bad, which it isn't.

3
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 23, 2010
at 02:56 PM

Simply finding that within a given population those who eat meat get more cancer is meaningless given the number of confounding variables. People who eat more meat are also poorer, less educated, more likely to be male, drink more, smoke more and so on. Such studies also show strong links between eating more red meat and risk of death from driving accidents! That's not to show that red meat makes you a more dangerous driver or makes you addicted to cigarettes...


Edit:

Actually Dr Eades has critiqued the very article which you linked to, and he also links to his two other writings about why observational studies can be highly misleading:

It should be obvious that the shaving or lack thereof has nothing to do with heart disease or early death; the lack of shaving is merely a marker for all the other conditions that are risk factors for heart disease, i.e., small stature, unmarried, smoking, lower socioeconomic class, etc.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 24, 2010
at 03:32 PM

Eva, the statistical model they use tries to account for the smoking, if you look at table 2 it's the adjusted model.

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:54 PM

Exactly what I was thinking - ridiculous conclusion to make

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:53 PM

Exactly. It's an epidemiological study. All it shows is a correlation but it does not look for confounder like that most red meat eaters are probably eating them in hamburgers with coke and a side of fries.

1
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:56 PM

How can you respond? Instead of trying to persuade them with a clever answer or counter-study, consider just not responding. The proof is in the pudding (couldn't think of a paleo food to replace pudding...), so show them good results in terms of weight loss (if relevant), health, vitality, etc. By your deeds shall you be known.

34d0dfe6cb1a477bd2b5f984c2af29a9

(493)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:36 PM

The only problem is they control the food list.

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