Sunday, May 03, 2009

New killer red meat study

A couple of statisticians write:
Hundreds of news stories last week warned people that eating red meat raised their risk for cancer and death. ...

These were the results driving the interest in the study, although weirdly, the strangest association was between high red meat consumption in men versus low red meat consumption and mortality due to “injuries and sudden death.“

That result – a hazard ratio of 26 percent (meaning 26 percent more likely) – was buried by the media. The category included death from unintentional injury, adverse effects, suicide, self-inflicted injury, homicide, and legal intervention.
It sounds bad to hear that red meat causes death in all those ways, but it is probably meaningless. If they have a theory for why red meat should cause death in a particular way, and they have an epidemiological study showing that red meat eaters do indeed die in that particular way more quickly, then that would be notable. But I really don't think that red meat is causing people to die in automobile accidents. It is doubtful that eating red meat is causing cancer either, since most of the big studies show no correlation between diet and cancer. I am going to keep eating red meat, and I think that it is healthy.

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