business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post reports on a new study from the National Cancer Institute, saying that eating red meat dramatically increases the likelihood that one will die prematurely.

According to the story, “The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

“Previous research had found a link between red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but the new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of death, and is by far the most detailed.”

"The take-home message is pretty clear," Walter Willett, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, tells the Post. "It would be better to shift from red meat to white meat such as chicken and fish, which if anything is associated with lower mortality."

The Post reports that the American Meat Institute (AMI) “dismissed the findings, however, saying they were based on unreliable self-reporting by the study participants.”

KC's View:
I’m not sure that the AMI can win this argument. The best it can hope for is that the study recedes from memory as barbecue season beckons.