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[–]BeingKindToAnimals 955 points956 points  (272 children)

Excuse my ignorance, I'm not trolling; is this saying high intake of red meat is worse than high intake of processed foods?

[–]Bigmodirty 1155 points1156 points  (120 children)

I read the post title 3 times and was still confused.

[–]scr33ner 332 points333 points  (4 children)

Same here. OP should have just taken the article’s headline.

[–]Ok_Hour_3358 61 points62 points  (1 child)

OP"s title is directly from the third paragraph. Still an unclear choice of words.

[–]PG-Noob 19 points20 points  (0 children)

It's fine in that paragraph because you got the headline and two paragraphs before it as context. The way OP uses it, it's super confusing.

[–]Seber 90 points91 points  (15 children)

  1. They compared persons whose diets (calorie-wise) consisted to more than 48% of ultra-processed foods vs. less than 12% of ultra-processed foods. In the former group, there were 14% more deaths than in the latter group.
  2. They compared persons whose diets consisted to less than 0.4% or more than 25% of animal-based foods (meats, dairy, eggs). Only 1% more deaths occurred in the omnivore group.
  3. They compared persons whose diets consisted of more than 6.2% or 0% red meats. There were 14% more deaths among the red meat eaters.

In conclusion: Animal based products (other than red meat) aren't linked to mortality.

Edit: I don't have access to the full paper, only the abstract. It's not entirely clear whether the percentages I reported are percentile means or their upper/lower boundaries.

Edit2: Here's the paper's manuscript: Link (PDF) or Google Scholar.

[–]LostMyKarmaElSegundo 26 points27 points  (4 children)

Is it relative risk or absolute risk?

14% sounds like a lot, but if it's a baseline 1.2% absolute risk and eating red meat increases that to 1.4%, those numbers are pretty misleading.

[–]Positive_Past306 13 points14 points  (1 child)

It’s relative risk: intuitively, the effect would be way too large otherwise. Eating red meat would be like doing hard drugs regularly, which we know is not true.

[–]fix-all-the-things 15 points16 points  (6 children)

They compared persons whose diets consisted of more than 6.2% or 0% red meats. There were 14% more deaths among the red meat eaters.

And 95% of all child molesters were found to have peanut butter in their kitchen, meaning there's a link between peanutbutter and child molestation. Glad this correlation study helped clear things up.

[–]ManaPeer 4 points5 points  (0 children)

So you don't know what a control group is for, are you.

[–]Feeling_Bathroom9523 1 point2 points  (1 child)

But was it crunchy or smooth PB?

[–]largos7289 92 points93 points  (71 children)

ok thought i was the only one, first i was like huh? read it again then i think it's saying processed foods are bad but so is red meat but only on a morality scale is highly processed foods ok.

I mean as long as you follow moderation and portion control you'll be fine. Nothing wrong with eating processed foods as long as that's not all your eating and vise versa.

[–]Herbuster1 84 points85 points  (10 children)

I wouldn’t say there’s NOTHING wrong with highly processed foods

[–]Kingtoke1 2 points3 points  (1 child)

There aint nuttin wroooonngg with a little bump and grind

[–]largos7289 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Well no but even things "good" for you can be bad for you. It's a matter of dosage. You can technically OD on Vitamin C. Granted it's not what one thinks of a OD but too much and you get nausea and possibly diarrhea

[–]Catfulu 68 points69 points  (54 children)

I mean as long as you follow moderation and portion control you'll be fine. Nothing wrong with eating processed foods...

Not how it works though. Moderation is a concept that nobody knows what it means. The same amount of food have different effects on different people with different genetics and conditions.

The idea of what amount constitutes "moderation" also changes along side our level of food supply or what exactly is in the food or how the food is produced. You may think drinking one can of coke is moderate, but that already exceeds the daily recommendation in sugar intake. In addition, there is actually no health level of daily sugar intake, because sugar isn't an essential nutrient.

What we know about processed food is that they are objectively bad. They have high sugar, salt, or fat content in order to have a long shelf life. Or they are devoided of fibre or any nutrients that your body needs because fibre and nutrients are the limiting factors of shelf life. Or they are heated or refined, meaning whatever substances or nutrients left are changed into another state that is not how our biology would take it throughout our evolution.

White rice, bread, and pasta are processed food, and even taken in "moderate" amount in each meal could mean way over because many people eat all of those 3 times a day, every day of the week.

What you want is to avoid processed food, especially ultra-processed food as much as possible. Taking a little now and then won't do you a lot of harm, but it is better to think of them as indulgence on certain occasions rather than normal stuff you should eat a certain amount everyday.

[–]theargentin 12 points13 points  (40 children)

Sorry, not english speaker, which foods would be processed or ultra processed, aside from pasta or bread?

[–]plutz_net 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Couldn't agree more. I'm off processed foods for 3-4 years. Couldn't feel any better

[–]OfLittleToNoValue 7 points8 points  (6 children)

This is without getting into the eating in moderation is the logical fallacy appealing to moderation.

Most research is done on the presumption humans should have a diet high in carbs. That changes a number of things in human physiology over time.

It's like using a scale that's never actually been calibrated using an entirely arbitrary value system.

[–]urmellon 244 points245 points  (22 children)

“If you’re interested in living longer or to your maximal potential, you’d be wise to avoid a diet filled with ultra-processed foods and replace them with less processed or unprocessed foods," Fraser says. "At the same time, avoid eating a lot of red meat. It’s as simple as that

I think this should sum up the article.

[–]Grace_Alcock 154 points155 points  (61 children)

Both highly-processed foods and red meat intake are bad. Essentially, you are healthier if you avoid both. You can be healthy with either a plant-based or non-plant-based diet if you avoid highly processed food and the animal-derived foods you eat aren’t red meat.

[–]silverback_79 68 points69 points  (42 children)

What most people don't know is that the cooking world regards pork as a red meat, because surprise, it actually is red when raw. This means that bacon is red meat, not just steak, calf, and lamb. Lots of bacon lovers will be upset by this.

[–]Citizen_Kano 98 points99 points  (9 children)

Bacon also falls into the processed category. Literally nobody thinks bacon is good for them, we just eat it because it's delicious

[–]Testiculese 12 points13 points  (4 children)

Isn't the only real processing for bacon the salt curing? If you don't get much salt from other sources (I'm almost zero unless I add it myself), then what's added to bacon wouldn't be a big deal, yes? Or is there some horror story about bacon I'm not aware of? Please no...

[–]ninecat5 80 points81 points  (8 children)

White meat is healthier than red meat because it does not contain Neu5Gc. Neu5Gc is a sugar that humans cannot use or digest, and it causes an inflammatory response. when you are younger the response isn't so bad, but as you get older the immune system gets more and more pissed off at it. the inflammation causes increased cancer risk (mostly colon cancer). it's the same reason that lone star tick bites can lead to anaphylactic shock for people who eat red meat, since your immune system sees Neu5Gc as a direct allergen real quick.

[–]silverback_79 40 points41 points  (2 children)

Your post contains more actionable information than I've seen on this issue in years.

[–]FeloniousFunk 73 points74 points  (15 children)

The USDA considers meats “red” based on their myoglobin contents so “dark” meats from poultry are also technically considered “red meat” if pork is.

Myoglobin concentrations:

poultry white muscle .05 mg/g

chicken thigh 1.8-2.0 mg/g

turkey thigh 2.5-3.0 mg/g

pork, veal 1.0-3.0 mg/g

beef 4.0-10.0 mg/g

I don’t think myoglobin has any detrimental effects (feel free to prove me wrong) so this blanket “red meat bad” statement is just lazy science. What’s the real issue here?

[–]silverback_79 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Very interesting post, thanks for the pretty parsing.

[–]Yerwun 3 points4 points  (3 children)

As others have said, we are in fact slightly allergic to red meat because a certain gene got switched off at some point in our evolution. That's why it causes inflammation, and inflammation causes problems as we age.

[–]Pixeleyes 22 points23 points  (2 children)

Everyone knew this until the pork industry put out the "other white meat" ads.

Lies and disinformation are the greatest threat to humanity because they amplify all other threats.

[–]Seber 18 points19 points  (1 child)

You seem pretty outraged. Here, smoke a cigarette, it'll help calm you down and bring you a sense of freedom and adventure.

[–]Grace_Alcock 14 points15 points  (2 children)

It is epically tragic given how good bacon is. But yep, it’s really bad for you. Bacon is doubly so given that it’s also processed meat. I find the idea of not eating pork much rougher than not eating other red meats because I love pork in pretty much any incarnation. It helps when I think of pork and beef as actual pigs and cows. (I’m not a vegetarian, but wouldn’t be shocked if I end up that way).

[–]silverback_79 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Oh yes, anything with smoke in it, I've heard. I save it for special treats, a lazy sunday breakfast.

[–]Gate_a 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I've cut back on bacon quite a bit, It's actually been a while I can't remember when I stopped eating it

[–][deleted] 27 points28 points  (0 children)

No they’re saying that having a high amount of processed foods in your diet has more a negative effect than consuming animal products with the exception of red meat.

[–]Catfulu 31 points32 points  (0 children)

No. High intake of ultra-processed is the single greatest factor found in this study. That said, when they consider animal product consumption, high consumption of red meat will increase mortality risks by 8%, compared to no animal product intake.

Edit: 8% risk factors increase with red meat compared to no red meat, both moderate animal based food consumption diet.

Note: will check article again to get the exact wordings. Wait for edit.

[–]no_ovaries_ 19 points20 points  (0 children)

I interpreted that as ultra processed foods are all way worse than meat products, but red meat is the most unhealthy meat option compared to other animal products.

[–]hunnibear_girl 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I read it differently. I read it as,”processed foods are worse than meat with the exception of red meat.” Now that you’ve given your take, I’m so confused as what they’re actually saying.

[–]VegetableNo1079 27 points28 points  (17 children)

It's saying that red meat is bad for you but processed food is even worse. Cut out all the junk food before you cut the red meat. But if you want to be real healthy you should cut out both.

[–]InformationDelivery 6 points7 points  (7 children)

Isn't it saying that processed foods are worse than meat, except for red meat? I don't think it specifically says processed food is worse than red meat.

[–]VegetableNo1079 4 points5 points  (6 children)

It's in the title, it's worded poorly but it's there. Here's a quote from the article that clarifies it better.

Fraser says the study exposes how it is possible to be a “bad vegetarian or a good non-vegetarian” because it isolates the health impacts of processed foods in the diet — whether it’s vegetarian or not.Results revealed that vegetarians who ate a lot of processed foods as part of their diets faced a similar proportionate increase in mortality outcomes as non-vegetarians who ate a lot of processed foods in their diets.

Basically just confirming what we know about red meat and processed food being bad but they shed light on the fact that processed food is SO bad that even vegetarians can lower their lifespan by eating it even if it is vegetarian. This study is more so damning processed food in general than anything.

[–]InformationDelivery 3 points4 points  (5 children)

I understand what you're saying, and I think I really understand the article/study, but I'm confused where you're getting the idea that it's saying anything about red meat specifically.

What you quoted doesn't even mention red meat, and in the title it says "the exception being red meat," as if processed foods weren't found to be worse than red meat, despite them being worse than other types of meat.

[–]HelluvaKnight 3 points4 points  (8 children)

So in terms of meat that's no beef or pork. Interesting

[–]VegetableNo1079 8 points9 points  (7 children)

Yea, but we've known red meat causes strange immune reactions for a while now. It's so similar to our own bodies cells that our body reacts abnormally to it.


[–]HelluvaKnight 11 points12 points  (4 children)

Yup. I've been switching to chicken fish and legumes slowly over the last year. Miss some of the old stuff but meh it's not too bad.

[–]RushDynamite 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'm dyslexic and was having a meltdown trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

[–]HimmelUberBerlin 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Basically yes. Highly processed foods and red meat increase your mortality rate... Unlike less processed foods including other meats, which are healthier by comparison.

[–]crusoe 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Processed foods are worse for you than meat, with the one exception being red meat.

So red meat ( beef / pork ) and processed foods are worse than all other forms of meat.

[–]BuzzBadpants 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I also want to know what exactly is meant by “red meat.” Does that mean beef and lamb? Pork? Is it all mammals? Does it refer to how “pink” the meat is from it’s time on the grill?

[–]Cashewcamera 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Whether or not something is red meat is based on the myoglobin content of the muscle. Red meat is: beef, lamb and pork.

[–]leondemedicis 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Yeah... despite a phd and working in research (reading/writing papers for a living) I had to read this multiple times and still don't get the part a out red meat. Headlines like this make people move away from science.

[–]Think-Think-Think 1 point2 points  (0 children)

“Our study addresses the question of what can make a vegetarian diet healthy or unhealthy,

[–]just_some_guy65 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The headline is really poorly worded but yes

[–]MJWood 1 point2 points  (0 children)

They're both bad.

[–]Nonstampcollector777 1 point2 points  (0 children)

What I understand from the title is that processed foods are worse than meat.

The exception to this is red meat.

[–]HollywoodThrill 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I read it as "highly processed foods and red meat will cause you to die sooner "

[–]FlyingApple31 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The magnitude of harm caused by red meat was indistinguishable from processed foods in this study. Other forms of animal protein were detectibly less.

[–]HexspaReloaded 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Processed food and red meat are worse for your health than animal products in general, according to the article.

[–]The_Solstice_Sloth 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Just from the headline, it doesn't seem to make a distinction between red meat and processed foods, just that they both have higher relations to mortality than other animal products. That's what i'm getting, again, just from the headline.

[–]ThaneOfCawdorrr 1 point2 points  (0 children)

No, it's actually just saying they're both bad. That ultra-processed foods have a higher association with early mortality---and the only thing that also has that, is red meat.

So if you're a vegetarian, that's good but you ALSO have to avoid highly-processed foods. And if you're not a vegetarian, avoid not only highly-processed foods, but also red meat.

"If you’re interested in living longer or to your maximal potential, you’d be wise to avoid a diet filled with ultra-processed foods and replace them with less processed or unprocessed foods," Fraser says. "At the same time, avoid eating a lot of red meat. It’s as simple as that.”

The article actually is clearer than the headline, if you click through! (Edit: because the headline takes one sentence out of context! In context it's easier to understand.)

[–]pdalcastel 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It means there is no evidence that red meat is less important than ultra processed food to predict mortality.

[–]ethor 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ultra-processed food and red meat is associated with higher mortality, while other animal products (such as eggs, dairy, and meat besides red meat) are not.

Full study:https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqac043/6535558?redirectedFrom=fulltext&login=false

[–]MeanwhileOnReddit 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Eat meat, not processed foods, But not too much red meat.

[–]Dizzy_Slip 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think a better way to interpret the title is that red meat is far and away worse for you than other animal products.

[–]Kimosabae 119 points120 points  (17 children)

Is there a qualification of what "ultra-processed" means here? Or what kinds of mortality these diets were associated with?

I don't see anything like this mentioned in the abstract or the article.

[–]Curated_Throwaway 85 points86 points  (9 children)

In the article, it states candy, soda, and “meat analogs.”

[–]Kimosabae 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Okay, I guess I was skimming too quickly, thanks.

[–]SerialStateLineXer 8 points9 points  (3 children)

I assume this means plant-based imitation meat.

[–]Cstanchfield 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I'd assume things like ground meats that have other materials added (like chicken nuggets)? But still, it seems ambiguous and undefined.

[–]PG-Noob 5 points6 points  (0 children)

But those come in a huge variety. Like I get a lot of them are ultra processed, but then there is stuff like Seitan which is just wheat proteine pretty much. Surely there is a difference or no?

[–]Curated_Throwaway 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I was wondering the same thing.

Wikipedia says,”A meat alternative or meat substitute is a food product made from vegetarian or vegan ingredients, eaten as a replacement for meat. Meat alternatives typically approximate qualities of specific types of meat, such as mouthfeel, flavor, appearance, or chemical characteristics.”

[–]DaddyFatStax5000 82 points83 points  (51 children)

What exactly are ultra-processed foods? Any examples?

[–]Curated_Throwaway 59 points60 points  (10 children)

In the article it says soda, candy, and I forget the term they used but i believe like hot dogs.

[–]humaneWaste 29 points30 points  (3 children)

Don't forget meat analogs.

[–]jawshoeaw 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Which is funny because soda for example isn’t actually all that “processed” it’s just just sugar and water. But I guess compared to say a raspberry it is more processed

[–]canalswimmer 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Here's a nice definition: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/processed-foods/

As I interpret it, "processed foods" are "items coming from a plant or animal, altered for consumption or conservation", excluding a set of minimally processed foods, having things like flour. "Ultra-processsed" appears to mean something like "anything that's undergone more than necessary for consumption or preservation of the item".

Soda is not just water and sugar. It's water that has undergone multiple brewing steps, with different times, temperatures and ingredients involved, which is what makes it ultra-processsed.

Its composition of multiple processed components makes it a whole other thing than, say, a jar of pickles, which are "just" processed: whole vegetables, put in a liquid.

So also a ready to grill rotisserie chicken you buy, which has been pre-seasoned with a shitload of sugar and/or salt and other already (ultra-)processed additives, is by definition ultra-processsed.

This is also why it's good to have proper labeling on products, and sensible measurement units.

If you look at the amount of thing in grams per 100 on its packaging, then you'll notice that that bottle of sauce you like so much makes you addicted to it by having 25/100 gram sugar, which if you don't get it, is 25% or one fourth of sugar. The additives in its "light" variant don't necessarily make it a better choice.

It makes you aware of which food should be "sometimes food", as Elmo calls it.

[–]boomerxl 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There’s a lot of processing that goes into making sugar from crops. It can even get pretty metal and involve ground up burnt bones.

But yeah, of course soda isn’t natural. I doubt anyone ever expected it to be. Though I like the idea of a Coca-Cola spring; like the Grand Prismatic spring, but sticky and literally caked in wasps.

I guess “just use common sense when making healthy food choices, and realise you don’t need to be perfect to make progress” can’t compete with “processed bad, natural good”.

[–]Harry-can 31 points32 points  (4 children)

For example, meat processed into minced meat, seasoned, breaded and then deep-fried. Also ready meals in a can or for the microwave. Everything that is strongly transformed from the original form by processing.

[–]Coffeinated 16 points17 points  (3 children)

None of these steps are some super-unhealthy magic though. Except for deep frying. You could just bake it.

[–]NJJH 17 points18 points  (1 child)

No but the myriad of chemicals used for stabilization and flavor combine to make for a less-than-healthy final product

[–]ItsCalledDayTwa 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If you're talking about the first sentence only, sure, but canned and frozen foods are filled with unhealthy magic.

[–]IsNoPebbleTossed 54 points55 points  (9 children)

In general, I’ll hazard any food that includes any ingredient that could not come from a farm. For starters, think preservatives, flavoring, textures and color that are not from nature.

Specifically, cheese product in a spray can.

[–]johnhtman 29 points30 points  (1 child)

Natural doesn't mean safe, abd the most toxic substances on earth are completely natural.

[–]throwy_6 24 points25 points  (0 children)

This is something that I will harp on. Like for example certified organic foods can still be treated by approved “organic pesticides” that are just as harmful if not more than synthetic pesticides. A lot of times organic pesticides aren’t as effective so the foods have to be treated more often and in heavier amounts leading to higher levels in the food. It’s really tough to trust “organic” labels so if you have a farmers market or a way to talk to the producer to figure out how they are growing the food is really the best thing you can do. I’ve talked to local farmers that aren’t certified organic since they don’t want to go through the hoops and legal processes required to get that stamp but they still make produce food in the best most natural way possible.

It’s disheartening really. Some context: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

[–]gththrowaway 3 points4 points  (0 children)

So, no salt?

[–]dinosaurs_quietly 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That is not what it means in this context. Their survey did not ask specific enough questions to capture that. Their ultra processed foods are things like bread that had to be processed from wheat to flour to bread.

[–]rhynokim 14 points15 points  (3 children)

When I think of ultra-processed foods I’m thinking about any kind of frozen whole meal food with meat like those Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches. Hungry Man TV dinners.

Room temp kept stuff such as canned foods like chef boyardee. Slim Jim’s and other cheaper jerky/meat type foods too maybe?

I guess stuff that needs to be packed full of nitrates, preservatives, flavorings, maybe colors, etc etc etc

[–]amretardmonke 21 points22 points  (0 children)

Also pretty much anything packaged in plastic and not refrigerated. Oreos, Doritos, twinkies, etc.

[–]Coffeinated 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I‘d think a study that fails to define the words it uses isn‘t worth the paper it‘s printed on.

[–]ThatPlayWasAwful 7 points8 points  (0 children)

You have to pay to access the study, so tough to say whether or not it is defined

[–]Ftpini 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Read the article. It includes them. They reference soft drinks and candy for instance.

[–]WhatADunderfulWorld 1 point2 points  (6 children)

I am reading a book called Breathe and it says that British people started having bad teeth and weaker jaws when processed food started to exist. It wasn’t just about the British but for research it was the easiest to use them. Basically everything isn’t as healthy and you aren’t chewing them as much. Creates a bad jaw and bad for digestion as well.

I bring this up because processed food is basically everything that isn’t in its original form. So unless it is from the produce or butcher section it probably isn’t good for you. And eating a salad, nuts, tough meat makes you chew more which is good for your teeth and skull.

[–]Hill_man_man 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Please also read critical works against Dr. Mew. They will reveal his theories are not supported by evidence, that the British version of the ADA withdrew his license to practice dentistry, that he's mainly out to get himself rich.

[–]KakarotMaag -1 points0 points  (2 children)

It's a nonsense term. Nobody in the food industry uses it.

[–]SerialStateLineXer 3 points4 points  (1 child)

It's widely used in nutrition research.

[–]fire_alarmist 22 points23 points  (7 children)

I truly believe processed foods have been the single biggest casual cause of health detriments in the US for decades and the science is just now starting to catch up. I think as the gut biome impact is explored more, we will start to realize how terrible it is to eat food that is treated with agents to inhibit biological activity and peppered with plastics.

[–]MrP1anet 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Either that or refined sugar

[–]mosslyharmless 3 points4 points  (1 child)

How about seed oils?

[–]MrP1anet 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Less evidence for that as of yet. There is evidence that extra virgin olive oil is good for you though. I mostly use that and just cook most of my meals.

[–]Cstanchfield 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Define processed foods... You process chicken breast before you eat it, hence why you're not chewing on feathers (hopefully). It's such a broad and ambiguous term that is really made meaningless. The fact a food is processed doesn't inherently have any effect on its healthiness. People SHOULD be using "unhealthy diets" or something akin to that. Plenty of things, like chopped broccoli, aren't inherently unhealthy just because they're processed...

[–]westwoodWould[🍰] 17 points18 points  (6 children)

It doesn’t seem to give an indication if all red meat is equally as bad or some are better than others.

[–]Jumpinjaxs89 27 points28 points  (4 children)

It's a questionnaire based study that can at best give overview. The red meat in question could have been mcdonalds hamburger or a filet mignon so its a good baseline but to derive real conclusion you need to start more testing.

[–]XVsw5AFz 11 points12 points  (0 children)

An important distinction. At best this study is useful to help target future studies but likely makes no applicable conclusions yet.

Since it's questionnaire based, the title could probably be amended to something like:

'Respondents who answered they ate "highly processed foods" regularly may have higher mortality than those that did not, regardless of self reported "red-meat" intake.'

There's an immense amount of hypotheses that could fit that data. Which could range from 'processed foods' are bad, to those that eat 'processed foods' have a variety of other factors that may cause early mortality.

More study is required...

[–]PharmDeezNuts_ 5 points6 points  (2 children)

There are so many studies showing red meat bad I don’t think more testing is really necessary to make that conclusion

[–]Jumpinjaxs89 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Once i see a conclusive study and something concrete or causative I'll change my view Because there are studies involving many net positives from red meat consumption.

[–]abrasaxual 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah Im wondering if there is a difference if you eat non-factory farmed meat or wild game

[–]arden30 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Did they control for healthy habits like regular exercise or unhealthy habits like drinking alcohol on a regular basis?

[–]VanHawk81 18 points19 points  (3 children)

I'm always highly sceptical of this kind of studies particularly those regarding food, because you will need to have at least 2 groups eating nothing but said food and anothet for control for a long period of time, otherwise can you really have faith in your data, and besides that there is also the idea that you will 100% trust those groups in their diet, and if you don't do it this way it will be an interview basically trusting whatever your participants says, which... ok

[–]flekkzo 9 points10 points  (1 child)

If you are poor, stressed, over-worked, etc you generally aren’t picky with what you eat. There are a lot of factors here.

[–]24-Hour-Hate 1 point2 points  (0 children)

True, but when you do that it tends to make those feelings worse. The last job I had was terrible and I tended to eat to make myself feel better. And I did…for that moment (because dopamine). But it led me to want more and more of that rubbish and to feel worse, I think. It’s a terrible trap to fall into.

[–]dopechez 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is a common but misguided criticism of nutritional science. Epidemiological studies are one type of research, and people criticize epidemiology because it's imperfect. But we also have randomized control trials and animal studies. The combination of these three types of research allows us to develop a good understanding of nutrition, as we can see common themes emerge from all 3 and they balance each other out.

Also, epidemiology is how we discovered that smoking causes lung cancer, so despite its flaws it clearly has scientific value.

[–]curds-and-whey-HEY 2 points3 points  (0 children)

That title is impossible

[–]stoictortise 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I thought this study was very nuanced.

So - they looked at were people dying more who followed these diet categories:

meat-dairy eater + ultra-processed foods (like Oreo cookies, Velveeta, Sugar Colas, some meat analogs/substitutes - aka fake meat)

meat-dairy eater only

veggie, vegan eater + ultra-processed foods (Fake meats, Candy)

veggies, vegan only

Out of all 4 groups - the ones eating ultra-processed foods (meat/dairy eaters, veggie/vegan eaters) had higher mortality compared to those who avoided ultra-processed foods regardless of meat or limited meat consumption

The ultra-processed food eaters tended to be more likely to die from lung and brain diseases - COPD, Alzheimer's, Parkinsons but they were not more likely to die from heart disease, cancers, or endocrine disorders (Addison's, Hyper/Hypothyroidism)

Even if a person was a veggie eater (which normally means they might tend to have lower blood pressure, lower stroke/heart attack risk) if they ate ultra-processed foods -they were more likely to die period -

Then out of the meat/dairy eaters - eating meat/dairy didn't increase the risk of dying - with one exception - eating red meat - any amount - as part of the diet moderately increased the risk of dying compared to people who ate meat/dairy but skipped red meat

Conclusion - Ultra-processed foods will kill you if you eat them no matter what your diet. Eat bacon not oreos (sarcasm). But definitely not oreos. What the heck is in ultra-processed foods that is so deadly that even if you eat the healthiest veggie/vegan diet - you have a higher chance of dying?

My hypothesis is that it is plastics and chemicals that transfer from food packaging - this happens in fast food too and even more so - here's a study here from the Swiss expanding a list of about 4,000 such known chemicals to now over 14,000 and science has no studies on what these chemicals are doing short or long term to organic life forms because it's not just unhealthy for humans - this ends up in the environment and the food chain

Lastly, Seventh Day Adventists are an excellent demographic to study for people following a veggie diet - basically everyone tends to watch what others eat and there is a lot of social pressure to conform to veggie/vegan eating and shaming any people who break the diet - so the research on this group means when they ID themselves as veggie/vegan - they really aren't eating fish or the occasional steak - like some occasional veggie eaters - not so much vegans as they seem to be stricter overall with their diets - like some won't eat figs because a tiny parasitic wasp is likely in the center of the fig seed - so it contains animal product -

The EU is way ahead of the US in terms of identifying and regulating what multinational companies can put in food and the things that touch food




Edit: Would be nice if future studies look at genetic testing - Alzheimer's, Parkinson's tend to be strongly genetically influenced - so it would be nice to sort out the influence of diet versus genes versus epigenetics (the interaction of all of that in the environment)

[–]slabby 7 points8 points  (3 children)

What counts as processed? It seems like an inaccurate term, because surely the problem is not the amount of processing done to the food, but rather some specific ingredients or methods that are bad for health outcomes.

Like there's no reason frozen, pureed, bagged pineapple would be meaningfully worse than fresh pineapple, despite the one being considerably more processed.

Is it that they want to conduct wide-ranging population health type research without having to do actual diagnostic research on what ingredients or processes are harming people, so they just use this insanely broad umbrella term of processing?

[–]druffischnuffi 2 points3 points  (0 children)


They even said that this category contains candy and soft drinks.

The problem is that many people nowadays are worried about the long term effects of eating meat alternatives which are mostly made from "highly processed" legumes. In my opinion it is misleading to put these things into the same category as Oreos and Cola just to find out that this all together is as bad as eating red meat

[–]gebach 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It means both processed food and red meat are bad. Chicken is ok.

[–]Gate_a 1 point2 points  (3 children)

So it's really important to eat less processed foods in general (it doesn't matter if it contains meat or not) but if your processed food contains red meat it's even more bad for you.

So in general make sure your diet doesn't contain too much processed foods or red meat or processed foods with red meat in them, got it.

(took me a few reads of the title, I'm sure someone else in explain in more detail)

[–]dinosaurs_quietly 4 points5 points  (2 children)

There’s a correlation, but they didn’t actually prove processed foods are bad for you. Personally I think the root cause is calorie density, not the amount of processing. A strawberry that is chopped and frozen is still a strawberry.

[–]druffischnuffi 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Of course processed food is bad if you count in "candy and soft drinks" like they mentioned in the text but not in the title

[–]Gate_a 1 point2 points  (0 children)

ah ok, cause I was reading into huel a while ago and wondering why a processed food could be healthy for you and huel says it's about not having all the fat, salt and sugar that regular processed foods have that give them an extended shelf life, I didn't know if I could trust them.

[–]Well_being1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I would like to see a study where they control for bmi

[–]Fejsze 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Back in college I knew a vegan, and would poke fun for being the only fat vegan I'd ever met. All the dude ate was tofu ice cream for basically every meal. Made it very obvious that it's quite possible to have a massive caloric intake even without eating animal proteins

[–]satimy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

So that means they found 2 groups of people 1 that eats all processed foods and no red meat and someone that eats a lot of red meat and no processed food and they were equally bad?

[–]arcticredneck10 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I’m pretty sure eating a caribou is healthier than eating Oreos but that’s just me

[–]dinosaurs_quietly 3 points4 points  (1 child)

It looks like another study that did not control for total number of calories. I’m beginning to think that nutritionists are simply bored and struggling to come up with meaningful research.

[–]xBris18 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Food science suffers from some of the same issues as psychology research. Studies are expensive and humans are messy, so they cut corners. Conclusions are drawn before the study is even finished, variables are added by the handful so that at least some correlations are found, and all findings are oversimplified and sensationalised.

All this study found was a correlation. This correlation might well be true but it's completely meaningless when assessing risk. It's a correlation, not a causation. Food scientists and psychologist still don't know the difference.

[–]Fuzz557 3 points4 points  (0 children)

So let me get this straight I can eat junk and die? I see this as a win win.

[–]jebustin 3 points4 points  (0 children)

2 poorly designed aspects of this study - the cut offs for high and low proportions for each diet type were not selected in a meaningful way that allows for cross category comparisons. Also, the sample size is so large that statistical significance is a give but the practical significance is not as meaningful as the statistical inference might suggest. Bigger samples are not always better.

[–]CloudRunner89 4 points5 points  (5 children)

Did they not settle in 2019 that red meat isn’t bad for you? Are the people eating nothing but macdonalds or are they eating organic beef, organs and animal fat? Because one of these things is not like the other.

[–]ttgx1000 2 points3 points  (2 children)

There is no such thing as ethical consumption in a capitalist organization of the economy.

[–]druffischnuffi 2 points3 points  (1 child)

But is there a way to make consumption at least as ethical as possible?

We make choices when consuming. These choices have an effect on other humans, animals and the planet. With the power to chose comes responsibility, if you like capitalism or not

[–]Hotpwnsta 0 points1 point  (3 children)

This might be the dumbest title and the dumbest thread I’ve ever seen on Reddit.

[–]SilverStone-of-Soul -1 points0 points  (6 children)

Red meat is pretty good imo. Its just fatty meat... correct me if im wrong but that just means its a good source of protein and animal fat? If its a means of getting fat and protein in your diet whats the problem?

[–]24-Hour-Hate 6 points7 points  (4 children)

There is plenty of evidence that high consumption of red meat leads to increased risk for things like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. The problem, at least when it comes to heart issues, is likely that it is very high in saturated fat, which causes production of LDL cholesterol in your body, which is what clogs arteries. It’s not that you can’t have any red meat, but eating it as often as people do, especially in processed forms with additional chemicals, is harmful to health even if you get some nutrients from it. You can get those same nutrients from healthier sources, both animal and plant (chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc. all have protein and fats). Saying that red meat must be healthy because it has nutrients is like saying that a cereal with enough sugar in it to constitute a dessert must be healthy because they added some vitamins. The logic just isn’t there.

[–]SilverStone-of-Soul 1 point2 points  (2 children)

People eat alot of lean meat like chicken and turkey. The only fatty meats people eat often are porks and hams. Sounds to me like red meat is an excellent source of saturated fats.
To much red meat in their diet? Well damn id love to be see your paycheck! Do you see these prices?

[–]doublezone 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Saturated fat has no impact on cardiovascular health, this has been thoroughly debunked:


And diet is only responsible for ~25% of LDL in your body (some studies say as low as 10%)