Undoubtedly by now, you have either seen or have had someone forward to you the story of the latest story to tell you red meat is going to kill you. Aaron asked me to give my two cents, but several other luminaries in the Paleo realm have dissected the article far more comprehensively than I could hope to here.
When these panic-inducing studies come out, you owe it to yourself to put on your thinking cap. As I mentioned before, critical thinking is sadly becoming a lost skill. Many people trust what they read in the news blindly, yet errors can easily be made. This is further complicated by the blurring of lines between blogs and news sites. One glaring clue is whether or not the article cites sources. This doesn’t happen often on reputable sites, but it is a first warning sign.
Now just because someone cites a study, this shouldn’t be a free pass. Exercise due diligence and look into that study to see if it passes the sniff test. For example, this red meat study says that the basis of their data was culled from Food Frequency Questionnaires. That in and of itself isn’t sketchy, but when you consider that the data was collected every four years, it starts to become pretty suspect. Yes… that part gets glossed over, but these people were given questionnaires each four years and they were asked to estimate the amounts of various foods they ate. If I asked you what you ate for dinner last Tuesday, could you recall? How about if I asked you four years later? How far off do you think your guesstimate would be? Considering that this entire study was based on this data, it’s a shaky foundation in my opinion. No amount of massaging of the data via further statistical adjustments can make up for this.
Rather than rehash was has been said better elsewhere, here are links to some of the rebuttals I have come across:
Good: Red Meat: Part of a Healthy Diet? by Robb Wolf
Better: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality by Caveman Doctor
Best: Will Eating Red Meat Kill You? by Denise Minger (via Mark’s Daily Apple)