Real Men Eat Red Meat and Die!!!!March 27, 2009
Here we go again.
According to this headline in THE AUSTRALIAN 25th March 2009 meat eaters are at risk of dying of cancer. The study published in Archives of Internal Medicine involved half a million people over 10 years. So far so good. That is a good sample size. The sample consisted of people aged 50 to 71 years at baseline or, obviously, after 10 years 60 to 81years!!!! So some deaths would be expected. Nevertheless, the article states:
“Men whose red meat intake put them in the top 20 per cent consumption band were 22 per cent more likely to die of cancer in the 10 years of the study, compared to men whose intake was in the lowest 20 per cent. For women, there was a 20 per cent increase in risk.”
Here is the problem. Firstly and I quote from the original study: “Meat intake was estimated from a food frequency questionnaire administered at baseline.’ So they asked people once what their eating habits were then assumed they continued for the next 10 YEARS??? How likely are your eating habits to change in 10 years???
Secondly, and this was mentioned in the article without explaining the maths, big meat eaters tend also to be big drinkers, smokers, obese and the rest. This study has tried to separate out meat eating from other unhealthy lifestyle choices using the Cox Regression. Mathematical wizardry has produced these numbers but they don’t mean much.
If the study used a control group of drinking, smoking, obese vegans then compaing mortality rates over 10 years would be would be interesting. But where do yo find half a million of them????????
Finally, the study concluded ‘Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality.’ Not the stuff of headlines at all!!!!!!!