Steak is back on the menu. Cutting back on red and processed meat brings few if any health benefits, according to a major evidence review that contradicts the dietary advice of leading international agencies.
Most people can continue to eat red and processed meat at current average intake, typically three or four times a week for adults in North America and Europe, said a panel of experts who made new recommendations based on the analysis.
Bradley Johnson, an associate professor at Dalhousie University in Canada who co-led the review said the researched showed there was no certainty that eating red or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, researchers from Canada, Spain and Poland conducted a series of reviews of both randomised controlled trials and observational studies looking at the possible health impacts of eating red and processed meat.
Among the randomised trials, which included around 54,000 people, they found no statistically significant link between eating meat and the risk of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.
Among the observational studies, which covered millions of people, they did find “a very small reduction in risk” in those who ate three fewer servings of red or processed meat a week, but said that this association “was very uncertain”.