Controversial Study Says No Harm Consuming Red Meat
After several years of warnings about the potential damage, including cancer and heart disease, caused by consumption of red meat and processed meat, a panel of experts from seven countries has recently said that people should not necessarily cut down on their consumption of red meat products like ham, sausage and bacon. 
 
These controversial recommendations, which have been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, were made by nutriRECS, a consortium of experts that describes its mission as producing trustworthy nutritional guidelines. 
 
Prof Gordon Guyatt, chair of the guideline committee from McMaster University (Canada) said that the research group with a panel of 14 members from seven countries used a rigorous systematic review methodology and methods which rate the certainty of evidence for each outcome, to move from evidence to dietary recommendations to develop their guidelines. “There is a worldwide interest in nutrition and the issue of red meat in particular. People need to be able to make decisions about their own diet based on the best information available,” he added. 
 
Dr Bradley Johnston, part-time associate professor at McMaster University and associate professor at Dalhousie University, is one of the corresponding authors of the new guideline. He explained that the research team realises its work is contrary to many current nutritional guidelines. “This is not just another study on red and processed meat, but a series of high quality systematic reviews resulting in recommendations we think are far more transparent, robust and reliable,” he added. 
 
To arrive at their conclusion, researchers performed a series of systematic reviews focused on randomised controlled trials and observational studies looking at the impact of red meat and processed meat consumption on cardio-metabolic and cancer outcomes. In a review of 12 trials with 54,000 people, the researchers did not find statistically significant or important association between meat consumption and the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer. In three systematic reviews of cohort studies following millions of people, the researchers found a very small reduction in risk among those who had three or fewer servings of red or processed meat a week; but the association was uncertain. 
 
Dr Johnston said, “We focused exclusively on health outcomes and did not consider animal welfare or environmental concerns when making our recommendations. We are however sympathetic to animal welfare and environmental concerns with a number of the guideline panel members having eliminated or reduced their personal red and processed meat intake for these reasons.” 
 
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has historically advised people to avoid processed meat altogether or eat very little of it, while limiting red meat to about three portions a week. After the study was published, the WCRF gathered a team of organisations—including from the World Health Organisation—to hit back at the latest findings, saying that there is good evidence of link between red and processed meat and bowel cancer. 
 
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    Vitamin-D and Omega-3 Supplements Lower Cancer and Heart Attack Risk, Finds Study
    Adding to the debate of whether nutrition supplements are beneficial, a new study has found that taking vitamin-D supplements and omega-3 could prevent cancer and heart attacks. 
     
    North American Menopause Society (NAMS) conducted the largest clinical trial—Vitamin-D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL)—to test whether vitamin-D or fish oil can effectively prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease. The study involved nearly 26,000 men and women from the US and took five years to complete. 
     
    Fish oils are well known for their omega-3 fatty acid and rich content of vitamin-A and D which have numerous health benefits. On the other hand, vitamin-D is best absorbed by the body when taken along with oil or fats. Prior studies have yielded mixed results of fish oil and vitamin-D in providing protection against cardiovascular diseases.
     
    The results from this new study have shown promising results for certain outcomes. For instance, while omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) showed only a small, but non-significant, reduction in the primary cardiovascular endpoint of major cardiovascular events, they were associated with significant reductions in heart attacks. The greatest treatment benefit was seen in people with dietary fish intake below the cohort median of 1.5 servings per week but not in those whose intake was above that level. Also, African-Americans appeared to experience the greatest risk reductions.
     
    Additionally, researchers also observed that although vitamin-D supplementation did not reduce major cardiovascular events or total cancer incidence, it was associated with a statistically significant reduction in total cancer mortality among those participating in the trial for at least two years. The effect of vitamin-D in reducing cancer death is also confirmed by updated meta-analyses of vitamin-D trials to date.
     
    “The pattern of findings suggests a complex balance of benefits and risks for each intervention and points to the need for additional research to determine which individuals may be most likely to derive a net benefit from these supplements,” said Dr JoAnn Manson, the lead author of the study from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. 
     
    “With heart disease and cancer representing the most significant health threats to women, it is imperative that we continue to study the viability of options that prevent these diseases and help women survive them,” says Dr Stephanie Faubion, medical director of NAMS. 
     
    The latest VITAL findings will be presented during the annual meeting of NAMS in Chicago later this week. 
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    COMMENTS

    Ramesh Poapt

    3 weeks ago

    it seems like compulsory education should be voluntary!

    Red Wine Linked to Better Gut Health in a New Study
    It is commonly believed that a little bit of red wine is good for the heart. Several scientific studies have looked into the assumed benefits of red wine and have shown that compounds in red wine may benefit depression or oral health. Drinking red wine in moderation seems to have a lot of hidden therapeutic potential; now, a new study has linked consumption of red wine to better gut health as well. 
     
    This new observational study was conducted by Dr Caroline Le Roy and her team from King’s College, London (United Kingdom) and the results were published in the journal Gastroenterology. The team of researchers started by examining the gut health of red wine drinkers and compared it with that of people who drank other types of alcohol. They explored the effects of beer, cider, red wine, white wine and spirits on the gut micro-biome and subsequent health in a group of 916 female twins from UK.
     
    The results indicated that the gut micro-biome of red wine drinkers was more diverse compared to that of non-red wine drinkers. This was not observed with white wine, beer or spirits consumption. Micro-biome is the collection of micro-organisms in an environment and plays an important role in human health. An imbalance of ‘good’ microbes compared to ‘bad’ ones in the gut can lead to adverse health outcomes, such as reduced immune system, weight gain or high cholesterol. Greater bacterial diversity is, generally, a sign of better gut health.
     
    Researchers were also diligent in their analysis by accounting for potential confounders such as age, weight, diet and socio-economic status. After considering all these factors, the researchers still saw an association between bacterial diversity and red wine consumption. 
     
    A detailed analysis of the collected data indicated that red wine drinkers had a higher number of various bacteria in their guts, lower rates of obesity and lower levels of cholesterol than non-red wine drinkers. The researchers confirmed these findings over three different groups based in the UK, The Netherlands and the United States. 
     
    “While we have long known of the unexplained benefits of red wine on heart health, this study shows that moderate red wine consumption is associated with greater diversity and a healthier gut micro-biota that partly explains its long debated beneficial effects on health,” said Dr Le Roy.
     
    Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College, London, added his thoughts on the significance of the findings by suggesting that poly-phenols could be responsible for red wine’s benefits. “This is one of the largest ever studies to explore the effects of red wine in the guts of nearly 3,000 people in three different countries and provides insights that the high levels of poly-phenols in the grape skin could be responsible for much of the controversial health benefits when used in moderation.”
     
    Poly-phenols are the naturally occurring defence chemicals found in plants. Fruits and vegetables are naturally very rich in poly-phenols which are, in turn, full of antioxidants that fight off cell damage. Poly-phenols may play a part in fuelling the beneficial micro-organisms that live in our guts. Studies in the past have suggested that poly-phenols may help protect against a range of cardio-metabolic conditions, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes or heart disease. 
     
    However, researchers have also cautioned that theirs was an observational study; this means that they cannot confirm that it is the red wine that causes this beneficial effect on the micro-biota. They also point out that moderation is the key. 
     
    “Although we observed an association between red wine consumption and the gut micro-biota diversity, drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect. If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes which, in turn, may also help weight and risk of heart disease. However, it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation,” explained Dr Le Roy.
     
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    COMMENTS

    HARISH CHANDRA KOHLI

    4 weeks ago

    CHEERS

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