Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is red meat bad for you?

A new study, widely reported in the press (e.g., LA Times), reports that mortality rates of a group of people studied were higher in those that ate red meat compared to those who did not.  Indeed, NOT eating red meat was associated with reduced mortality rates.

If this is a robust result, it just illustrates that what's good for you is also good for the planet!  And, if it's not, what's there to lose by eliminating red meat in your diet?  You could gain a few years of life!


  1. From a friend and colleague...the links are quite good analyses of the the perils of inferring causation from correlation.

    I noticed you blogged recently about the Harvard School of Public Health epidemiological report on the association between red meat consumption and mortality.

    Given your apparent interest in the subject, I thought you'd be interested in reading this analysis by New York Times journalist Gary Taubes that was published in Discovery Magazine blog. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2012/04/05/chocolate-red-meat-can-be-bad-for-your-science-why-many-nutrition-studies-are-all-wrong/. After you read it, you should read the analysis by British nutritionist Zoe Harcombe mentioned in Gary's article: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2012/03/red-meat-mortality-the-usual-bad-science/.

    And if you liked that one, here's another by a friend of mine who's a health statistician: http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2012/03/2012-red-meat-mortality-study-arch.html.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I remember the Fringham heart study mentioned at the dinner for Steven Stearns at Barbara's house, and was thinking to myself that, being an observational epidemiology study, it could only usefully suggest hypotheses to test, but is not suitable for basing health or diet recommendations.