Tuesday, March 20, 2012

red meat: good or bad?

just when i thought it was time for a post on nutrition, lo and behold a nutrition topic comes up in the news and makes all the headlines.  i'm referencing a slate of media reports referencing a recent Harvard study, all of which allege that the study shows that any amount of red meat in your diet is bad for your health, even to the extent that it shortens your lifespan.

you can check out a sample of the media reports:
i'm not going to post text from any of these articles, since my perspective here is actually in disagreement with these news reports.  it's not that i disagree with the science. it's rather that i disagree with the media commentary and interpretation of the science.

i'll put it this way: i believe in the body of medical science that finds that red meat is a driver of cholesterol, bad fats, and various assorted factors harmful to health. i do not, however, believe that this makes red meat a sole source of harm (which is what i think these media reports are doing). there's issues with many other sources of nutrition, particularly sources of protein. the issue is not red meat alone, but more about the larger composition of your nutrition overall.

i found some useful sources that i think respond directly to the media reports above:
what's interesting is that these articles also reference Harvard studies regarding red meat.  which to me just goes to show that it's not the science or the scientists that are the issue, but instead the commentary by news media that are misinterpreting research.

my personal position in light of the opposing viewpoints on red meat?  i monitor my red meat intake, but i also monitor all of my protein intake regardless of source, just like i monitor all of my nutritional intake in general.

here's an example that i think illustrates my motivation: red meat is high in cholesterol. but so is shrimp. and eggs. and some forms of vegetables and fruit. so treating red meat as the sole culprit won't solve all your problems.  if cholesterol is the concern then it's necessary to watch out for it in all foods.

and that's the principle i think that we really need to remember: we have to be mindful about all of our nutrition, not just a little.

No comments: