The headlines, the flashing lights, the smoke…the mirrors. About once a year the media finds a “scientific study” to share concerning red meat, and launches it at the world for shock value. One being the LA Times Harvard study claiming that red meat is bad for you. Why else would they publish unscientific crap? Oh, wait. The average Joe doesn’t care much about how the science was carried out just that it is labeled “science”. There are a few unscientific details that are cause for question. The data collection was a questionnaire given once every four years over a twenty year study. The participants were asked to remember what they ate throughout the year. Can you remember what you ate last week? Meat and veggies. That’s all I’ve got. They did ask about whole grains which are nasty in their own right, but did not take any refined grains into consideration. Burger bun anyone?
Bias is another issue. People guessing at what they ate is bad enough. Now they are being asked to remember how much they ate. People rarely underestimate good food choices, and rarely overestimate bad food choices. If you’ve ever tried the zone diet, you know what I’m talking about. You weigh and measure your food quantity for a while, and then start eyeballing. It doesn’t take long for the estimates of things you like to increase and the things you don’t to decrease.
This study is considered an observational type study, not an experiment. There was no control: no nutritional control, no quantity control, no accuracy in gathering information. That means there was no baseline to compare a change to. This study “showed” that most of the heavy meat eaters also smoked, drank, and/or were inactive. If they performed the same study at CrossFit Predators, they would find many heavy meat eaters who were very active, and drank on the weekends. Check our blood workups. Oh, wait that wasn’t part of the study.
Here are a few links to see what I read and what the experts had to say: