Fudging the facts

| Post published on July 29, 2020
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Misleading meat advice

In a refreshingly straight-talking article called ‘On Meat, Butter and Fudge’, a series of papers published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, were given a well-deserved roasting. Despite admitting their own findings were “weak and based on low certainty evidence”, the authors were happy to recommend that there is “No need to reduce red or processed meat consumption for good health”.

Those who slammed this conclusion were clear – processed meat causes cancer and red meat probably does too; saturated fat increases risk of heart disease; vegans have healthier fat levels in their blood, a lower risk of chronic disease and live longer than meat-eaters. The perils of meat consumption also include: altered sexual development; widespread antibiotic resistance, environmental damage and increased greenhouse gases.

The five papers were called out on a number of levels of deceit and the authors accused of acting as a mouthpiece for meat-industry propaganda. The misleading recommendations of their pseudoscience were not intended to convince scientists – who clearly understand the relationship between meat and health – but were published solely to create doubt and confusion in the wider population. A damning indictment!

Potter JD and Jackson R. 2020. On Meat, Butter, and Fudge. Nutrition and Cancer. 72 (1) 1-4.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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