We have heard for many years that red meat and processed meats can cause cancer and/or heart disease.  Now, there are medical professionals that are saying “not so fast”, or at least saying “maybe not”.  The November edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, which is a highly respected peer reviewed journal, spotlighted a review of this topic.

This was not an article based on 1 or 2 studies.  This was a review of 61 rock solid studies that included more than 4 million participants.

We all know what red meat is, but processed meat can be a wide variety of products.  In this review, processed meats were identified as “mammalian meat and white or red meat preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or adding chemical compounds (for example, hot dogs, charcuterie, sausage, ham, and deli meats)”.

red meat and processed meat

Like any in-depth study, there is a bunch of technical data to sort through.  Luckily because this article is a review, someone else has done this.  If you like technical data, below is a chart that summarizes some outcomes.  I highlighted the outcomes.

Summary of data on red meat

Basically what was found is that there is no absolute certainty that red meat or processed meats are evil.  There is not definitive evidence that it causes cancer or heart disease.  Now remember, that medical professionals many years ago said the opposite, so stay tuned for more studies to follow.  But you can be assured that eating a burger several times a year will not kill you.

I have always told my clients to enjoy all foods in moderation.  Whether it be a juicy steak, or  chocolate chip cookies, enjoy them.  If you live a healthy lifestyle, red meat or chocolate chip cookies do not have a significant impact on your health or waistline.  If you do not live this lifestyle, it will worsen both.

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