There is no shortage of guidelines that advise you on what to eat, drink, sleep and more. But what if the recommended intake for your meat consumption was wrong? What if the current guidelines on red meat consumption were, in fact, incorrect and you could continue to chow down on your favourite steak? Well according to a new study, you can.
A new study by a panel of experts from around the world has found that current guidelines recommending people reduce meat consumption are flawed as most people can continue to consume red meat at their current consumption levels with no negatives to their health. This is a finding that is contrary to most health guidelines and is because the experts found that the risk reductions were trivial for people who lowered their consumption and any health effects of doing so were uncertain.
Before the comments light up like a Christmas tree it should be noted that the study looked specifically at the health benefits of decreasing meat consumption. The authors of the study did not consider ethical or environmental reasons for abstaining from meat and even noted that these are valid and important concerns.
The research found that asking people to cut meat consumption was not an easy task due to a societal belief that meat was healthy. It also hinted that meat-eaters may not necessarily have the culinary skills to cook without meat and therefore would have a more unhealthy plate as a side effect. Something this author knows from personal experience of trying to cook without meat as the main ingredient.
Deputy Dean at the University of Adelaide Professor Rachel Ankeny said many Australians would welcome the news given our association of meat with comfort and good diet.
“These recent and perhaps surprising findings are likely to be welcomed by many Australians who might find it difficult to change their consumption behaviours, particularly in relation to meat”
Just last month the Heart Foundation updated its guidelines of what to eat to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and for the first time gave a specific limit on that amount. According to the Foundation, you should not eat any more than three lean meals, totalling 350 grams of unprocessed beef, pork, lamb or veal a week.
The panel of fourteen scientists that conducted the study, however, found that adults could continue to eat at their current levels, which is around four times a week on average or for a total of roughly 500 grams. That 150g could make all the difference between choosing an eye fillet and t-bone steak.
Of course like any study, there are critics of it that disagree with the findings. Some critics point out that processed meats are dangerous due to high levels of sodium, while others disagreed with the study not looking at the environmental and social impacts of meat consumption. However, the authors of the study were very clear that it was looking directly at the health benefits of cutting meat consumption and it found none of significance.
So fire up that BBQ and enjoy some food because it would seem that meat is back on the menu.