Fudging the facts

Misleading meat advice

In a refreshingly straight-talking article called ‘On Meat, Butter and Fudge’, a series of papers published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, were given a well-deserved roasting. Despite admitting their own findings were “weak and based on low certainty evidence”, the authors were happy to recommend that there is “No need to reduce red or processed meat consumption for good health”. 

Those who slammed this conclusion were clear – processed meat causes cancer and red meat probably does too; saturated fat increases risk of heart disease; vegans have healthier fat levels in their blood, a lower risk of chronic disease and live longer than meat-eaters. The perils of meat consumption also include: altered sexual development; widespread antibiotic resistance, environmental damage and increased greenhouse gases. 

The five papers were called out on a number of levels of deceit and the authors accused of acting as a mouthpiece for meat-industry propaganda. The misleading recommendations of their pseudoscience were not intended to convince scientists – who clearly understand the relationship between meat and health – but were published solely to create doubt and confusion in the wider population. A damning indictment! 

Potter JD and Jackson R. 2020. On Meat, Butter, and Fudge. Nutrition and Cancer. 72 (1) 1-4.