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Thread: Study: Eating more red meat increases risk of early death page

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    Annika's Avatar
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    Study: Eating more red meat increases risk of early death

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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...032301626.html

    Anyone care to critique this study? It concludes that the more red meat a person eats, they greater their chance of dying prematurely, mostly from heart disease and cancer. I still get nervous reading stuff like this.
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    The 2 big glaring problems I see with the study off the bat: it was 'self reported' and it didn't isolate the factor in question. These sorts of studies are pretty useless in proving cause. The problem with all these studies is that you don't know what other variables are involved here. Certainly no scientist would make a statement as if it were fact like this article does ... what would be honest to say is 'suggests a link' and that 'more research needs to be done'. But that doesn't make for a sensational headline now does it?

    I think everyone should read "good calories, bad calories". It helps you quickly identify the studies that are, to put it in scientific terms, total BS.

    Molecular Grokologist, jump in here please!

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    No need, it's already been done to death. Here's one of the better rebuttals: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/f...and-mortality/.

    Summary: Although they played up the effect, it really wasn't the size necessary to think it's real. They didn't separate processed and unprocessed meat intake. It's an observational study, and those are notoriously inaccurate, and a meta-analysis of actual interventions has revealed no risk. Vegetarian all-cause mortality is higher than that of meat eaters in general. Adherer effect is at work: red meat consumption is highly correlated with not giving a damn about your health.

    Something else to point out: mortality didn't increase along a gradient, as you would expect if the red meat was causal. It increases sharply at the highest group, suggesting to me that people who eat that much red meat tend to be of the "who cares" mindset, which is itself indirectly causal via a variety of risky behaviors.
    Last edited by Molecular Grokologist; 04-10-2010 at 10:56 AM.
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    And wow, I just noticed, we both have the whole mad scientist look workin, Molegrok!

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    Thanks guys! I hadn't seen Dr. Eades post. I knew the MDA clan would make me feel better.
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    Yeah, I'm currently looking for an old-school single-breasted, deep-overlap lab coat (think Dr. Horrible) that's actually chemical-resistant/flame-retardant so that I don't get horribly burned while looking sharp in my lab.
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    Affirming the consequent.

    P1 If red meat causes one to die prematurely, those reporting higher intake will die prematurely more often
    P2A higher percentage of those reporting higher intake died prematurely
    C Red meat causes one to die prematurely

    But the fallacy is in that the consequent being true does not mean that the antecedent is true. There could be another factor involved in the correlation and a correlation does not entail causation. A "link" or "association" based on faulty logic proves nothing but dishonesty of those making the conclusion. Like MG and KSF pointed out, there are plenty of things that are more common to red meat consumption than to the avoidance of it that have been proven to cause disease. It reminds me of that 7 nations study. The sugar and industrial vegetable oil correlate with the saturated fat and yet they blame the saturated fat.

    And the kicker is that they don't distinguish between 100% grass-fed pastured beef and slim-jims. Know the signs of junk science!

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    i don't know, these studies always appear (to me at least) to be lacking other variables that may go hand-in-hand with the responses... maybe the people they asked said they eat more red meat because they eat a lot of burgers with a lot of buns and ketchup on them? maybe most people (those on a conventional diet) who eat red meat tend to eat a lot of grains and sugars that they shouldn't, where those who eat only white meat (because they think that it's healthier) tend to look out for their health a little better anyhow, avoiding refined grains etc?
    i said that all too confusingly. sorry.
    all i know is that the day i started eating red meat, or any meat for that matter, again after 11 years, i felt better than i did as a teenager. if it sheds a few years from my life, then so be it. at least i feel alive and energetic!
    those studies really get you thinking about context, though!

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