On May 16th, 2017 the Today Show posted an article titled:
In their article they advise people to not eat read meat.
They also advise a few other things I take issue with, such as limiting saturated fat, but we’ll leave that for another article.
The problem with blanket articles like this one is that there are two sides of food going on in today’s western culture, that is Non-GMO / Organic and GMO / Non Organic.
The article mentions to avoid red meat because a study showed increased inflammation when eating it. I read the study and they didn’t mention the raising of the animal…
And this matters!
Let’s take an example.
Let’s say a rancher, we’ll call him Rancher A, feeds a cow food super high in Mercury its entire life until the time comes to butcher it and sell its meat to the population.
Then there’s another rancher, Rancher B, who lets the cow feed on naturally grown grass, no harmful chemical-sprayed, and roams an open range. Then the day comes where Rancher B butchers this cow and sells its meat to the population.
The problem is Rancher A corners 95% of the market, leaving only 5% of the market to Rancher B.
Then a study comes along following the consumption of red meat for 15 years which discovers that people eating red meat have a high risk of mercury build up in their blood. The study then concludes that red meat should be avoided all together.
Do you see a problem with this study?
This is how our current day studies work in relation to nutrition.
That study the Today Show referenced did not examine things like what percentage of the cows in this study were grain-fed (and thus GMO Fed) vs. grass-fed.
It also didn’t examine what kind of diets the people in the study had, because again this matters.
From my experience, people who eat a lot of steak and other cuts of red meat eat less green leafy vegetables and more starches and other carbohydrates.
So what the Today Show’s author did was look at a study which lumps all things together and then make a blanket claim that red meat is bad for you.
We’ve got to be smarter than this because listen, researchers are not always great at figuring out causation from data they examine. In fact, I personally feel they are really bad at it.
Dr. Peter Attia, has written about the misinterpretations and false conclusions that are the rule in nutritional advice based on observational epidemiology:
“I trust by now you have a better understanding of why the ‘science’ of nutrition is so bankrupt. It is based on almost a complete reliance on these observational studies.
Virtually every piece of nutritional dogma we suffer from today stems from – you guessed it – an observational study.
Whether it’s Ancel Keys’ observations and correlations of saturated fat intake and heart disease in his famous Seven Countries Study, which ‘proved’ saturated fat is harmful or Denis Burkitt’s observation that people in Africa ate more fiber than people in England and had less colon cancer ‘proving’ that eating fiber is the key to preventing colon cancer, virtually all of the nutritional dogma we are exposed to has not actually been scientifically tested.
Perhaps the most influential current example of observational epidemiology is the work of T. Colin Campbell, lead author of The China Study, which claims, ‘the science is clear’ and ‘the results are unmistakable.’
Not if you define science the way scientists do.
This doesn’t mean Colin Campbell is wrong (though I wholeheartedly believe he is wrong on about 75% of what he says based on current data). It means he has not done any real science to advance the discussion and hypotheses he espouses.”
Another quote I love of his…
“Tragically, most people (unfortunately this includes physicians, dietitians, and politicians) have neither the time nor scientific discipline to wade through these studies and understand their implications. Instead, they rely on “reputable” journalists to translate for them.”
That was in relation to this article on his site. It’s a bit heavy in biology and science, so just skip down to the conclusions below (How did the diets impact inflammation?)… you’ll be astonished at what the study showed opposed to what journalist actually reported on.
My takeaway is this.
You cannot rely on doctors and other journalist to give you sound nutritional advice. You have to do your own research or follow someone who does–but feel free to check their findings as well.
List of Functional Medicine Professionals
If you’re interested in learning about your body and good nutrition, here is a list of professionals and websites you might want to check out.