[LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

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[LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Dennis Liu

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 


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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Debra Daugherty
Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

--
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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
Search the archives at http://lincoln.2330058.n4.nabble.com/.
Browse the archives at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/private/lincoln/.
Change your subscription settings at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln.


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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
Search the archives at http://lincoln.2330058.n4.nabble.com/.
Browse the archives at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/private/lincoln/.
Change your subscription settings at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln.

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Dennis Liu

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Debra Daugherty
No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

--
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Dennis Liu

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Rich Rosenbaum
In reply to this post by Debra Daugherty
don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.

That may be a little premature - perhaps this latest study contains some bad science. Hard for a layman to distinguish good from bad, especially for new research that has generated significant criticism.

Also, over the last few years scientific journals have come under a lot of criticism for the quality of their review process.

And health and nutrition journalists love to publish articles that questions previous received wisdom, especially when it suggests that something well liked is suddenly no longer bad for you. Remember red wine and resveratrol?

Note that I am not saying that the conclusions of this study are incorrect - just that it may worth taking with a grain of salt - oops, maybe not - I don't  remember if salt is currently good or bad for you.


On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 1:56 PM Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]> wrote:
No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Nicholas Ribush
In reply to this post by Dennis Liu
I tried to resist replying (scared of Sara) but I couldn't! The article also says that these findings

 '...have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

'Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”'

See that? The research is fatally flawed.


On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 2:44 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Dennis Liu
In reply to this post by Rich Rosenbaum

Rich, you make a fair, broad point.

 

When science swerves left and right and back again, which lesson should we trust?  Salt/eggs/butter/fiber is good/bad/killing/saving you.

 

Fair enough!

 

But the nature of science is that it corrects as it goes along.  What’s true today may not be true tomorrow.

 

What’s *crucial* for us, as “consumers” of science, is to try to separate the wheat from the chaff.  And especially when a BODY of work is swerving left and right, that gets even more difficult.

 

I’ll ask, though, Rich – if science has told us that XYZ is good, then bad, then good for us, should we trust (a) the science that came out when we were making our initial decisions as to what to believe, and then we should stick with that belief even if the science changes?  Or (b) the most current and recent studies, even if it represents a sea change?

 

Now, I’m going to throw in here a giant caveat – confirmation bias.  We want to believe that which reinforces (confirms) what we already believe and/or will benefit our innate desires.  Yup, that may well be true here (since I do love tasty meat).  But it also cuts the other way – it’s hard for people to accept that what they’ve believed in so long might not be true.

 

For example, lots of people are sworn adherents to the idea that dietary cholesterol are directly connected, 1:1, to blood cholesterol.  And that consuming fat is directly connected, 1:1, to body fat.  Solely because they share the same name!!

 

Rich, to this article specifically, one should note that the publication that set of the debate is actually something of a meta-study.  Indeed, precisely to your point, given the swerving back-and-forth in nutritional guidelines and recommendations, an international panel of 14 scientists from 7 countries, without any industry funding or conflicts-of-interest, went through recent studies, looking at how they were done, conducting:  “ 4 parallel systematic reviews that focused both on randomized trials and observational studies addressing the possible impact of unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes (13–16), and a fifth systematic review addressing people's health-related values and preferences related to meat consumption (17). On the basis of these reviews, we developed recommendations for unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption specific to health outcomes.”

 

In other words, this international panel’s overarching goal was to address precisely your concern, Rich.  Put another way: “hey, there is so much misleading and conflicting information, derived from poorly set-up and analyzed observational studies, we should take a rigorous look at everything and come up with a macro recommendation, if possible.”

 

Folks can read it for themselves:  https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2752328/unprocessed-red-meat-processed-meat-consumption-dietary-guideline-recommendations-from

 

vty,

 

--Dennis

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Rich Rosenbaum
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 2:46 PM
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.

 

That may be a little premature - perhaps this latest study contains some bad science. Hard for a layman to distinguish good from bad, especially for new research that has generated significant criticism.

 

Also, over the last few years scientific journals have come under a lot of criticism for the quality of their review process.

 

And health and nutrition journalists love to publish articles that questions previous received wisdom, especially when it suggests that something well liked is suddenly no longer bad for you. Remember red wine and resveratrol?

 

Note that I am not saying that the conclusions of this study are incorrect - just that it may worth taking with a grain of salt - oops, maybe not - I don't  remember if salt is currently good or bad for you.

 

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 1:56 PM Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]> wrote:

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Dennis Liu
In reply to this post by Nicholas Ribush

Lol…  the research (https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2752328/unprocessed-red-meat-processed-meat-consumption-dietary-guideline-recommendations-from) points out how those very critics made poor recommendations in the first place!

 

Put another way….  The international panel that published this:  “Hey, everyone, the research that these groups have done in recent years are flawed, and when we independently took a detailed examination, we found their conclusions were erroneous!”

 

The original researchers:  “What?!?  No way!  THEY’RE WRONG!  We’re right!  We formed our group to promote veganism, and our research supports that!  It’s our critics that have conducted the fatally flawed research!  It’s not us!  We’re rubber and they’re glue!”

 

Please, read the original article (emphasis added):

 

Contemporary dietary guidelines recommend limiting consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat. For example, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting red meat intake, including processed meat, to approximately 1 weekly serving (1). Similarly, United Kingdom dietary guidelines endorse limiting the intake of both red and processed meat to 70 g/d (2), and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research recommend limiting red meat consumption to moderate amounts and consuming very little processed meat (3). The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has indicated that consumption of red meat is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, whereas processed meat is considered “carcinogenic” to humans (4).

 

These recommendations are, however, primarily based on observational studies that are at high risk for confounding and thus are limited in establishing causal inferences, nor do they report the absolute magnitude of any possible effects. Furthermore, the organizations that produce guidelines did not conduct or access rigorous systematic reviews of the evidence, were limited in addressing conflicts of interest, and did not explicitly address population values and preferences, raising questions regarding adherence to guideline standards for trustworthiness (5–9).

 

A potential solution to the limitations of contemporary nutrition guidelines is for an independent group with clinical and nutritional content expertise and skilled in the methodology of systematic reviews and practice guidelines, methods that include careful management of conflicts of interest, to produce trustworthy recommendations based on the values and preferences of guideline users. We developed the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) (7) international consortium to produce rigorous evidence-based nutritional recommendations adhering to trustworthiness standards (10–12).

 

To support our recommendations, we performed 4 parallel systematic reviews that focused both on randomized trials and observational studies addressing the possible impact of unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes (13–16), and a fifth systematic review addressing people's health-related values and preferences related to meat consumption (17). On the basis of these reviews, we developed recommendations for unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption specific to health outcomes.

 

For the avoidance of doubt:  if anyone wishes to make arguments against the consumption of meat based upon philosophical concerns, or ethical concerns about animal treatment, please be my guest.  People are free to follow their conscience.  But please don’t try to deceive folks with claims of scientific certainty where isn’t any.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Nicholas Ribush <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 2:59 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>; Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

I tried to resist replying (scared of Sara) but I couldn't! The article also says that these findings

 

 '...have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

'Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”'

See that? The research is fatally flawed.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 2:44 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Fred Hopengarten-3

As this seems to be an interesting topic, I am a good friend of Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, the Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is quoted below in yesterday’s New York Times article. She will be here at my house next week for dinner. If someone from the Bemis Trust contacts me with an interest in having her present a Bemis talk, I’d be happy to put to her the question of presenting here in Lincoln.  

 

Fred Hopengarten, Esq.         [hidden email]

Six Willarch Road

Lincoln, MA 01773              antennazoning.com

781.259.0088

 

From: Lincoln [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Dennis Liu
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2019 3:09 PM
To: 'Nicholas Ribush'
Cc: 'Listserv Listserv'
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Lol…  the research (https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2752328/unprocessed-red-meat-processed-meat-consumption-dietary-guideline-recommendations-from) points out how those very critics made poor recommendations in the first place!

 

Put another way….  The international panel that published this:  “Hey, everyone, the research that these groups have done in recent years are flawed, and when we independently took a detailed examination, we found their conclusions were erroneous!”

 

The original researchers:  “What?!?  No way!  THEY’RE WRONG!  We’re right!  We formed our group to promote veganism, and our research supports that!  It’s our critics that have conducted the fatally flawed research!  It’s not us!  We’re rubber and they’re glue!”

 

Please, read the original article (emphasis added):

 

Contemporary dietary guidelines recommend limiting consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat. For example, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting red meat intake, including processed meat, to approximately 1 weekly serving (1). Similarly, United Kingdom dietary guidelines endorse limiting the intake of both red and processed meat to 70 g/d (2), and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research recommend limiting red meat consumption to moderate amounts and consuming very little processed meat (3). The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has indicated that consumption of red meat is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, whereas processed meat is considered “carcinogenic” to humans (4).

 

These recommendations are, however, primarily based on observational studies that are at high risk for confounding and thus are limited in establishing causal inferences, nor do they report the absolute magnitude of any possible effects. Furthermore, the organizations that produce guidelines did not conduct or access rigorous systematic reviews of the evidence, were limited in addressing conflicts of interest, and did not explicitly address population values and preferences, raising questions regarding adherence to guideline standards for trustworthiness (5–9).

 

A potential solution to the limitations of contemporary nutrition guidelines is for an independent group with clinical and nutritional content expertise and skilled in the methodology of systematic reviews and practice guidelines, methods that include careful management of conflicts of interest, to produce trustworthy recommendations based on the values and preferences of guideline users. We developed the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) (7) international consortium to produce rigorous evidence-based nutritional recommendations adhering to trustworthiness standards (10–12).

 

To support our recommendations, we performed 4 parallel systematic reviews that focused both on randomized trials and observational studies addressing the possible impact of unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes (13–16), and a fifth systematic review addressing people's health-related values and preferences related to meat consumption (17). On the basis of these reviews, we developed recommendations for unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption specific to health outcomes.

 

For the avoidance of doubt:  if anyone wishes to make arguments against the consumption of meat based upon philosophical concerns, or ethical concerns about animal treatment, please be my guest.  People are free to follow their conscience.  But please don’t try to deceive folks with claims of scientific certainty where isn’t any.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Nicholas Ribush <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 2:59 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>; Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

I tried to resist replying (scared of Sara) but I couldn't! The article also says that these findings

 

 '...have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

'Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”'

See that? The research is fatally flawed.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 2:44 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Gordon Woodington
Fred,

That would be excellent if she could speak at Bemis !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope Bemis contacts you ASAP.

Best regards,

Gordon Woodington

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 3:28 PM Fred Hopengarten <[hidden email]> wrote:

As this seems to be an interesting topic, I am a good friend of Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, the Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is quoted below in yesterday’s New York Times article. She will be here at my house next week for dinner. If someone from the Bemis Trust contacts me with an interest in having her present a Bemis talk, I’d be happy to put to her the question of presenting here in Lincoln.  

 

Fred Hopengarten, Esq.         [hidden email]

Six Willarch Road

Lincoln, MA 01773              antennazoning.com

781.259.0088

 

From: Lincoln [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Dennis Liu
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2019 3:09 PM
To: 'Nicholas Ribush'
Cc: 'Listserv Listserv'
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Lol…  the research (https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2752328/unprocessed-red-meat-processed-meat-consumption-dietary-guideline-recommendations-from) points out how those very critics made poor recommendations in the first place!

 

Put another way….  The international panel that published this:  “Hey, everyone, the research that these groups have done in recent years are flawed, and when we independently took a detailed examination, we found their conclusions were erroneous!”

 

The original researchers:  “What?!?  No way!  THEY’RE WRONG!  We’re right!  We formed our group to promote veganism, and our research supports that!  It’s our critics that have conducted the fatally flawed research!  It’s not us!  We’re rubber and they’re glue!”

 

Please, read the original article (emphasis added):

 

Contemporary dietary guidelines recommend limiting consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat. For example, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting red meat intake, including processed meat, to approximately 1 weekly serving (1). Similarly, United Kingdom dietary guidelines endorse limiting the intake of both red and processed meat to 70 g/d (2), and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research recommend limiting red meat consumption to moderate amounts and consuming very little processed meat (3). The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has indicated that consumption of red meat is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, whereas processed meat is considered “carcinogenic” to humans (4).

 

These recommendations are, however, primarily based on observational studies that are at high risk for confounding and thus are limited in establishing causal inferences, nor do they report the absolute magnitude of any possible effects. Furthermore, the organizations that produce guidelines did not conduct or access rigorous systematic reviews of the evidence, were limited in addressing conflicts of interest, and did not explicitly address population values and preferences, raising questions regarding adherence to guideline standards for trustworthiness (5–9).

 

A potential solution to the limitations of contemporary nutrition guidelines is for an independent group with clinical and nutritional content expertise and skilled in the methodology of systematic reviews and practice guidelines, methods that include careful management of conflicts of interest, to produce trustworthy recommendations based on the values and preferences of guideline users. We developed the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) (7) international consortium to produce rigorous evidence-based nutritional recommendations adhering to trustworthiness standards (10–12).

 

To support our recommendations, we performed 4 parallel systematic reviews that focused both on randomized trials and observational studies addressing the possible impact of unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes (13–16), and a fifth systematic review addressing people's health-related values and preferences related to meat consumption (17). On the basis of these reviews, we developed recommendations for unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption specific to health outcomes.

 

For the avoidance of doubt:  if anyone wishes to make arguments against the consumption of meat based upon philosophical concerns, or ethical concerns about animal treatment, please be my guest.  People are free to follow their conscience.  But please don’t try to deceive folks with claims of scientific certainty where isn’t any.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Nicholas Ribush <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 2:59 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>; Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

I tried to resist replying (scared of Sara) but I couldn't! The article also says that these findings

 

 '...have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

'Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”'

See that? The research is fatally flawed.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 2:44 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Lincoln mailing list
In reply to this post by Fred Hopengarten-3
Dare I ask what’s on the menu?  

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 3:28 PM -0400, "Fred Hopengarten" <[hidden email]> wrote:

As this seems to be an interesting topic, I am a good friend of Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, the Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is quoted below in yesterday’s New York Times article. She will be here at my house next week for dinner. If someone from the Bemis Trust contacts me with an interest in having her present a Bemis talk, I’d be happy to put to her the question of presenting here in Lincoln.  

 

Fred Hopengarten, Esq.         [hidden email]

Six Willarch Road

Lincoln, MA 01773              antennazoning.com

781.259.0088

 

From: Lincoln [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Dennis Liu
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2019 3:09 PM
To: 'Nicholas Ribush'
Cc: 'Listserv Listserv'
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Lol…  the research (https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2752328/unprocessed-red-meat-processed-meat-consumption-dietary-guideline-recommendations-from) points out how those very critics made poor recommendations in the first place!

 

Put another way….  The international panel that published this:  “Hey, everyone, the research that these groups have done in recent years are flawed, and when we independently took a detailed examination, we found their conclusions were erroneous!”

 

The original researchers:  “What?!?  No way!  THEY’RE WRONG!  We’re right!  We formed our group to promote veganism, and our research supports that!  It’s our critics that have conducted the fatally flawed research!  It’s not us!  We’re rubber and they’re glue!”

 

Please, read the original article (emphasis added):

 

Contemporary dietary guidelines recommend limiting consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat. For example, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting red meat intake, including processed meat, to approximately 1 weekly serving (1). Similarly, United Kingdom dietary guidelines endorse limiting the intake of both red and processed meat to 70 g/d (2), and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research recommend limiting red meat consumption to moderate amounts and consuming very little processed meat (3). The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has indicated that consumption of red meat is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, whereas processed meat is considered “carcinogenic” to humans (4).

 

These recommendations are, however, primarily based on observational studies that are at high risk for confounding and thus are limited in establishing causal inferences, nor do they report the absolute magnitude of any possible effects. Furthermore, the organizations that produce guidelines did not conduct or access rigorous systematic reviews of the evidence, were limited in addressing conflicts of interest, and did not explicitly address population values and preferences, raising questions regarding adherence to guideline standards for trustworthiness (5–9).

 

A potential solution to the limitations of contemporary nutrition guidelines is for an independent group with clinical and nutritional content expertise and skilled in the methodology of systematic reviews and practice guidelines, methods that include careful management of conflicts of interest, to produce trustworthy recommendations based on the values and preferences of guideline users. We developed the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) (7) international consortium to produce rigorous evidence-based nutritional recommendations adhering to trustworthiness standards (10–12).

 

To support our recommendations, we performed 4 parallel systematic reviews that focused both on randomized trials and observational studies addressing the possible impact of unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes (13–16), and a fifth systematic review addressing people's health-related values and preferences related to meat consumption (17). On the basis of these reviews, we developed recommendations for unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption specific to health outcomes.

 

For the avoidance of doubt:  if anyone wishes to make arguments against the consumption of meat based upon philosophical concerns, or ethical concerns about animal treatment, please be my guest.  People are free to follow their conscience.  But please don’t try to deceive folks with claims of scientific certainty where isn’t any.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Nicholas Ribush <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 2:59 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>; Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

I tried to resist replying (scared of Sara) but I couldn't! The article also says that these findings

 

 '...have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

'Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”'

See that? The research is fatally flawed.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 2:44 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Rich Rosenbaum
Dennis:

I’ll ask, though, Rich – if science has told us that XYZ is good, then bad, then good for us, should we trust (a) the science that came out when we were making our initial decisions as to what to believe, and then we should stick with that belief even if the science changes?  Or (b) the most current and recent studies, even if it represents a sea change?


Since you asked...


I did not suggest either of these. I did not suggest unchanging beliefs in the face of new evidence.  I did not suggest accepting the latest research immediately. I suggested a wait and see approach.


Rich, to this article specifically, one should note that the publication that set of the debate is actually something of a meta-study.


The quoted research is more a set of five systematic reviews than a meta-analysis. Systematic reviews sometimes include meta-analyses but I didn't see one here (unless you consider scoring of the evidence as analysis). An interesting note from the referenced Wikipedia article: A further study by the same group found that of 100 systematic reviews monitored, 7% needed updating at the time of publication, another 4% within a year, and another 11% within 2 years.


Even I found some evidence of sloppy editing (cut and paste errors in supplement tables 1, 8, and 9).

In other words, this international panel’s overarching goal was to address precisely your concern, Rich.  Put another way: “hey, there is so much misleading and conflicting information, derived from poorly set-up and analyzed observational studies, we should take a rigorous look at everything and come up with a macro recommendation, if possible.”

In my reading of the paper, the authors do not criticize the previous studies as poorly set-up. On the contrary they are accepting and using the data in those studies in doing their own review. In some cases they have arrived at a different conclusion (or no conclusion) based on that evidence.

I'm not sure that misleading and conflicting information was my "precise concern" but if it was, the article did not help much - the article adds to the conflicting information and in some ways the article could be construed as misleading: the headline says "keep eating meat like you currently do" but the article says that this is a weak recommendation (and some panelists argued for reducing meat consumption).

we suggest continuing current processed meat consumption (weak recommendation, low-certainty evidence). Again, 11 of 14 panel members voted for a continuation of current processed meat consumption, and 3 voted for a weak recommendation to reduce processed meat consumption.

To me, the real conclusion of the article is "prior research was useless for making dietary choices, and this article won't help you either so you might as well continue what you are doing since you seem to be comfortable with that".

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 5:07 PM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dare I ask what’s on the menu?  

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 3:28 PM -0400, "Fred Hopengarten" <[hidden email]> wrote:

As this seems to be an interesting topic, I am a good friend of Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, the Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is quoted below in yesterday’s New York Times article. She will be here at my house next week for dinner. If someone from the Bemis Trust contacts me with an interest in having her present a Bemis talk, I’d be happy to put to her the question of presenting here in Lincoln.  

 

Fred Hopengarten, Esq.         [hidden email]

Six Willarch Road

Lincoln, MA 01773              antennazoning.com

781.259.0088

 

From: Lincoln [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Dennis Liu
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2019 3:09 PM
To: 'Nicholas Ribush'
Cc: 'Listserv Listserv'
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Lol…  the research (https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2752328/unprocessed-red-meat-processed-meat-consumption-dietary-guideline-recommendations-from) points out how those very critics made poor recommendations in the first place!

 

Put another way….  The international panel that published this:  “Hey, everyone, the research that these groups have done in recent years are flawed, and when we independently took a detailed examination, we found their conclusions were erroneous!”

 

The original researchers:  “What?!?  No way!  THEY’RE WRONG!  We’re right!  We formed our group to promote veganism, and our research supports that!  It’s our critics that have conducted the fatally flawed research!  It’s not us!  We’re rubber and they’re glue!”

 

Please, read the original article (emphasis added):

 

Contemporary dietary guidelines recommend limiting consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat. For example, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting red meat intake, including processed meat, to approximately 1 weekly serving (1). Similarly, United Kingdom dietary guidelines endorse limiting the intake of both red and processed meat to 70 g/d (2), and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research recommend limiting red meat consumption to moderate amounts and consuming very little processed meat (3). The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has indicated that consumption of red meat is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, whereas processed meat is considered “carcinogenic” to humans (4).

 

These recommendations are, however, primarily based on observational studies that are at high risk for confounding and thus are limited in establishing causal inferences, nor do they report the absolute magnitude of any possible effects. Furthermore, the organizations that produce guidelines did not conduct or access rigorous systematic reviews of the evidence, were limited in addressing conflicts of interest, and did not explicitly address population values and preferences, raising questions regarding adherence to guideline standards for trustworthiness (5–9).

 

A potential solution to the limitations of contemporary nutrition guidelines is for an independent group with clinical and nutritional content expertise and skilled in the methodology of systematic reviews and practice guidelines, methods that include careful management of conflicts of interest, to produce trustworthy recommendations based on the values and preferences of guideline users. We developed the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) (7) international consortium to produce rigorous evidence-based nutritional recommendations adhering to trustworthiness standards (10–12).

 

To support our recommendations, we performed 4 parallel systematic reviews that focused both on randomized trials and observational studies addressing the possible impact of unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes (13–16), and a fifth systematic review addressing people's health-related values and preferences related to meat consumption (17). On the basis of these reviews, we developed recommendations for unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption specific to health outcomes.

 

For the avoidance of doubt:  if anyone wishes to make arguments against the consumption of meat based upon philosophical concerns, or ethical concerns about animal treatment, please be my guest.  People are free to follow their conscience.  But please don’t try to deceive folks with claims of scientific certainty where isn’t any.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Nicholas Ribush <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 2:59 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>; Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

I tried to resist replying (scared of Sara) but I couldn't! The article also says that these findings

 

 '...have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

'Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”'

See that? The research is fatally flawed.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 2:44 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Dennis Liu

Rich – thanks for the thoughtful reply. 

 

I will add but one more response.

 

You wrote:  “I did not suggest either of these. I did not suggest unchanging beliefs in the face of new evidence.  I did not suggest accepting the latest research immediately. I suggested a wait and see approach.”

 

Ah, but surely you’d agree that since we all eat multiple meals per day, the decision to wait and see is indeed a decision – one way or another, right?  There really is NOT a wait and see approach, simply because we each have to choose what we are going to eat today.

 

Thus, we must make those decisions in light of our best understanding of what science is telling us today.

 

If you choose to continue to curb your meat consumption, well, you’re making a deliberate decision.  The same would be true if you decide to consumer more meat.

 

Unlike a situation where, for example, a decision can be put off, like whether to have LASIK today or a year from now, this is an active decision that must be made every time we sit down at the table. 

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Rich Rosenbaum
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:37 PM
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Dennis:

 

I’ll ask, though, Rich – if science has told us that XYZ is good, then bad, then good for us, should we trust (a) the science that came out when we were making our initial decisions as to what to believe, and then we should stick with that belief even if the science changes?  Or (b) the most current and recent studies, even if it represents a sea change?

 

Since you asked...

 

I did not suggest either of these. I did not suggest unchanging beliefs in the face of new evidence.  I did not suggest accepting the latest research immediately. I suggested a wait and see approach.

 

Rich, to this article specifically, one should note that the publication that set of the debate is actually something of a meta-study.

 

The quoted research is more a set of five systematic reviews than a meta-analysis. Systematic reviews sometimes include meta-analyses but I didn't see one here (unless you consider scoring of the evidence as analysis). An interesting note from the referenced Wikipedia article: A further study by the same group found that of 100 systematic reviews monitored, 7% needed updating at the time of publication, another 4% within a year, and another 11% within 2 years.

 

Even I found some evidence of sloppy editing (cut and paste errors in supplement tables 1, 8, and 9).

 

In other words, this international panel’s overarching goal was to address precisely your concern, Rich.  Put another way: “hey, there is so much misleading and conflicting information, derived from poorly set-up and analyzed observational studies, we should take a rigorous look at everything and come up with a macro recommendation, if possible.”

 

In my reading of the paper, the authors do not criticize the previous studies as poorly set-up. On the contrary they are accepting and using the data in those studies in doing their own review. In some cases they have arrived at a different conclusion (or no conclusion) based on that evidence.

 

I'm not sure that misleading and conflicting information was my "precise concern" but if it was, the article did not help much - the article adds to the conflicting information and in some ways the article could be construed as misleading: the headline says "keep eating meat like you currently do" but the article says that this is a weak recommendation (and some panelists argued for reducing meat consumption).

 

we suggest continuing current processed meat consumption (weak recommendation, low-certainty evidence). Again, 11 of 14 panel members voted for a continuation of current processed meat consumption, and 3 voted for a weak recommendation to reduce processed meat consumption.

 

To me, the real conclusion of the article is "prior research was useless for making dietary choices, and this article won't help you either so you might as well continue what you are doing since you seem to be comfortable with that".

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 5:07 PM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dare I ask what’s on the menu?  

 

Vincent

Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 3:28 PM -0400, "Fred Hopengarten" <[hidden email]> wrote:

As this seems to be an interesting topic, I am a good friend of Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, the Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is quoted below in yesterday’s New York Times article. She will be here at my house next week for dinner. If someone from the Bemis Trust contacts me with an interest in having her present a Bemis talk, I’d be happy to put to her the question of presenting here in Lincoln.  

 

Fred Hopengarten, Esq.         [hidden email]

Six Willarch Road

Lincoln, MA 01773              antennazoning.com

781.259.0088

 

From: Lincoln [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Dennis Liu
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2019 3:09 PM
To: 'Nicholas Ribush'
Cc: 'Listserv Listserv'
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Lol…  the research (https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2752328/unprocessed-red-meat-processed-meat-consumption-dietary-guideline-recommendations-from) points out how those very critics made poor recommendations in the first place!

 

Put another way….  The international panel that published this:  “Hey, everyone, the research that these groups have done in recent years are flawed, and when we independently took a detailed examination, we found their conclusions were erroneous!”

 

The original researchers:  “What?!?  No way!  THEY’RE WRONG!  We’re right!  We formed our group to promote veganism, and our research supports that!  It’s our critics that have conducted the fatally flawed research!  It’s not us!  We’re rubber and they’re glue!”

 

Please, read the original article (emphasis added):

 

Contemporary dietary guidelines recommend limiting consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat. For example, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting red meat intake, including processed meat, to approximately 1 weekly serving (1). Similarly, United Kingdom dietary guidelines endorse limiting the intake of both red and processed meat to 70 g/d (2), and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research recommend limiting red meat consumption to moderate amounts and consuming very little processed meat (3). The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has indicated that consumption of red meat is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, whereas processed meat is considered “carcinogenic” to humans (4).

 

These recommendations are, however, primarily based on observational studies that are at high risk for confounding and thus are limited in establishing causal inferences, nor do they report the absolute magnitude of any possible effects. Furthermore, the organizations that produce guidelines did not conduct or access rigorous systematic reviews of the evidence, were limited in addressing conflicts of interest, and did not explicitly address population values and preferences, raising questions regarding adherence to guideline standards for trustworthiness (5–9).

 

A potential solution to the limitations of contemporary nutrition guidelines is for an independent group with clinical and nutritional content expertise and skilled in the methodology of systematic reviews and practice guidelines, methods that include careful management of conflicts of interest, to produce trustworthy recommendations based on the values and preferences of guideline users. We developed the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) (7) international consortium to produce rigorous evidence-based nutritional recommendations adhering to trustworthiness standards (10–12).

 

To support our recommendations, we performed 4 parallel systematic reviews that focused both on randomized trials and observational studies addressing the possible impact of unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes (13–16), and a fifth systematic review addressing people's health-related values and preferences related to meat consumption (17). On the basis of these reviews, we developed recommendations for unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption specific to health outcomes.

 

For the avoidance of doubt:  if anyone wishes to make arguments against the consumption of meat based upon philosophical concerns, or ethical concerns about animal treatment, please be my guest.  People are free to follow their conscience.  But please don’t try to deceive folks with claims of scientific certainty where isn’t any.

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Nicholas Ribush <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 2:59 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>; Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

I tried to resist replying (scared of Sara) but I couldn't! The article also says that these findings

 

 '...have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

'Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”'

See that? The research is fatally flawed.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 2:44 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Debra, I think your point is dead-on, though too narrow. 

 

Too many of us (Americans) eat bad-for-us meals because they don’t have the time, or experience, or desire to COOK foods.  To paraphrase what you said, “I tend to think that people stick with *processed foods or meals with lots of bread and potatoes and pasta and rice* because they don't know how to cook simple, tasty well balanced meals.”  For many meals, cooking at home is more affordable, or way more affordable, than getting take-out or buying processed foods from the supermarket.  And if you look at the total end-to-end time, with sufficient forethought, cooking meals at home can be easily faster than eating out – thanks in no small part to innovations like pressure cookers, sous vide, convection ovens, etc.

 

For the record, I like vegetables too.  By no means am I saying that folks should eat more meat and fewer vegetables, per se; I’m making two (related) points:  (1) the most current scientific studies are showing that eating more meat is NOT necessarily worse for your health, so if you enjoy eating meat, you should continue to do so; and (2) additionally, lots of recent studies have shown that people can lose weight and live healthier lives by consuming a diet high in fats, with some protein, and much less refined carbs, especially if done on a restricted time basis (intermittent fasting).  https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight-what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-9aae5ce0aa6b

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 1:57 PM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

 

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

BMWkbikes
In reply to this post by Dennis Liu
As I tell my veggie muchin’ friends, ‘those incisors weren’t originally meant for shredding lettuce’.

The key to cooking that great steak? Leave it out for a an hour, get it near room temperature - bathe it in olive oil, salt and pepper - grille it!

Vic

On Oct 1, 2019, at 1:56 PM, Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]> wrote:

No bad science here. The results of the studies were upheld. It's the advice that is being criticized.

I tend to think that people stick with meat because they don't know how to cook vegetables. You seem to like French food and they have loads of yummy vegetable dishes. Give it a try.

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 11:23 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey, I certainly wouldn’t presume to lecture people on the ethics of eating or not eating animals.  😊  I’m just making the point that if you enjoy eating meat, don’t let bad science scare you off of eating the amount you’d like to eat.  As I wrote below, “So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.”

 

And while I too like olive oil, it doesn’t quite measure up to a 129 degree marbled rib-eye or the immensely tasty beef bourguignon I made using the deckle (point-cut brisket) I came across in plentiful supply at Market Basket, thanks to the new year holiday (L’Shana tovah!).

 

I’ll wave to you from my bicycle on the other side of the road,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Debra Daugherty <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:16 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>
Cc: Listserv Listserv <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Thank you for the information Dennis. However, I think many people don't each (much) meat out of concerns for the environment and for animals. Also, eating more fat doesn't require eating more meat (olive oil). I have also lost 10% of my body weight, but by riding my bike. I highly recommend it. :-)

 

On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear neighbors, TL;DR:  eat more tasty meat, and learn about a really easy way to cook it and save money.

Longer:

This piece in the NY Times today spurred me to share.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html 

Time to reconsider what we think we know about consumption of red meat.  For me personally, increased consumption of meat (fat in particular) from cows and pigs and poultry and such, as part of a high fat & protein and much-less-carbohydrate diet, has made it really quite easy to keep to “intermittent fasting”.  That seems to be another component in the revolution of what constitutes a healthy diet today.

This effort has led me to losing more than 10% of my body weight in six months, while still keeping very healthy cholesterol and related numbers, and maintaining low blood pressure.  Of course, “data” is not the plural of “an anecdote”, and my personal experience won’t translate for everyone.  Still, it’s quite easy to stay on this “diet”; I’m hesitant to even call it a diet.  It’s really more of a new way of thinking about eating.  Have been doing it for more than two years now, and haven’t regained any of the weight loss.

Plus, of course, this stuff is damn tasty (for me, at least).  So don’t eat more meat, or start eating meat, just because you think it might be healthier.  BUT, if you do like tasty, tasty meat, don’t let medical concerns stop you from enjoying it more.  And as part of the aforementioned new trend in nutritional science, eating more fat and less carbs, and combining that with intermittent fasting, many, many people are benefitting from weight loss and keeping it off.

***

Related:  I’ve urged/inspired a lot of friends and family to try sous vide cooking.  This started out in the Michelin-starred French restaurants, and has blossomed across the world.  You may have eaten food cooked sous vide in many restaurants, without knowing.  In a nutshell, you seal meat or seafood or veggies in a plastic bag, and cook it in a precisely controlled hot water bath.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound appetizing, but stay with me.  This means that your steak or pork or fish will NEVER be overcooked, because you cook it only to the temperature you want.  You would typically finish it by giving a good sear in a hot pan or under a hot broiler, to get that Maillard reaction (browning), but that takes 30-60 seconds per side.  Tired of overcooked, dry chicken breast?  Never again.  Perfect medium-rare rib-eye from top to bottom?  Done.  Salmon that combined a translucent interior with tasty crispy skin?  Easy.  Make two dozen perfectly soft boiled eggs with no effort.  Cook 6 racks of ribs for a family BBQ with about 15 minutes of active time.  All easily achievable.

Moreover, it’s a blessing for busy families.  I can prep a week’s worth of food in a few minutes (typically, sprinkling salt, maybe a dry rub, and sealing in the bag before tossing the fridge or freezer).  I can then start cooking it that morning (can leave it running all day if you’d like), or call and have a kid toss it in the sous vide water bath.  Then when done, just pat it dry, toss it into a hot pan for a less than a minute, and voila.  Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.  Buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer for emergency rations.  You can even cook tougher cuts of beef overnight; the tough collagen breaks down, and transforms it into much more tender (and expensive) cuts.

GQ article that’s a good starting point on sous vide cooking.  http://www.gq.com/story/are-you-ready-to-sous-vide    My favorite cooking+science site, see especially articles written by Kenji Lopez-Alt.  http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/sous%20vide   

The Best Sous Vide Gear | The Sweethome reviews gear, but, really, any inexpensive immersion circulator will be fine – can be had for less than $50-$60 these days.  http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-sous-vide-gear/      You can even get them with Bluetooth or WiFi, if you want to use an app that has recipes, but you really don’t need it.  And the container for the water bath can be just a large pot or large plastic storage container.  Give it a try.

Happy to answer more Sous Vide questions, or give tips, to anyone that’s interested.  I’ve gotten a few Lincoln friends to give it a shot, to resounding success.

Enjoy! HTH,

--Dennis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-heart-cancer.html

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By Gina Kolata

·         Published Sept. 30, 2019Updated Oct. 1, 2019, 9:43 a.m. ET

·          

·         Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

“The certainty of evidence for these risk reductions was low to very low,” said Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada and leader of the group publishing the new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new analyses are among the largest such evaluations ever attempted and may influence future dietary recommendations. In many ways, they raise uncomfortable questions about dietary advice and nutritional research, and what sort of standards these studies should be held to.

Already they have been met with fierce criticism by public health researchers. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other groups have savaged the findings and the journal that published them.

Some called for the journal’s editors to delay publication altogether. In a statement, scientists at Harvard warned that the conclusions “harm the credibility of nutrition science and erode public trust in scientific research.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating a plant-based diet, on Wednesday filed a petition against the journal with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Frank Sacks, past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, called the research “fatally flawed.”

While the new findings are likely to please proponents of popular high-protein diets, they seem certain to add to public consternation over dietary advice that seems to change every few years. The conclusions represent another in a series of jarring dietary reversals involving salt, fats, carbohydrates and more.

 

The prospect of a renewed appetite for red meat also runs counter to two other important trends: a growing awareness of the environmental degradation caused by livestock production, and longstanding concern about the welfare of animals employed in industrial farming.

 

Beef in particular is not just another foodstuff: It was a treasured symbol of post-World War II prosperity, set firmly in the center of America’s dinner plate. But as concerns about its health effects have risen, consumption of beef has fallen steadily since the mid 1970s, largely replaced by poultry.

“Red meat used to be a symbol of high social class, but that’s changing,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Today, the more highly educated Americans are, the less red meat they eat, he noted.

Still, the average American eats about 4 1/2 servings of red meat a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 10 percent of the population eats at least two servings a day.

The new reports are based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, along with three community representatives, directed by Dr. Johnston. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding.

In three reviews, the group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality.

In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low.

That is not to say that those links don’t exist. But they are mostly in studies that observe groups of people, a weak form of evidence. Even then, the health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, the team concluded, and an individual cannot conclude that he or she will be better off not eating red meat.

A fourth study asked why people like red meat, and whether they were interested in eating less to improve their health. If Americans were highly motivated by even modest heath hazards, then it might be worth continuing to advise them to eat less red meat.

But the conclusion? The evidence even for this is weak, but the researchers found that “omnivores are attached to meat and are unwilling to change this behavior when faced with potentially undesirable health effects.”

Taken together, the analyses raise questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat, experts said.

“The guidelines are based on papers that presumably say there is evidence for what they say, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Dennis Bier, director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and past editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

David Allison, dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health—Bloomington, cited “a difference between a decision to act and making a scientific conclusion.”

It is one thing for an individual to believe eating less red meat and processed meat will improve health. But he said, “if you want to say the evidence shows that eating red meat or processed meats has these effects, that’s more objective,” adding “the evidence does not support it.”

Dr. Allison, who was not involved in the study, has received research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a lobbying group for meat producers.

The new studies were met with indignation by nutrition researchers who have long said that red meat and processed meats contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Irresponsible and unethical,” said Dr. Hu, of Harvard, in a commentary published online with his colleagues. Studies of red meat as a health hazard may have been problematic, he said, but the consistency of the conclusions over years gives them credibility.

Nutrition studies, he added, should not be held to the same rigid standards as studies of experimental drugs.

Evidence of red meat’s hazards still persuaded the American Cancer Society, said Marjorie McCullough, a senior scientific director of the group.

“It is important to recognize that this group reviewed the evidence and found the same risk from red and processed meat as have other experts,” she said in a statement. “So they’re not saying meat is less risky; they’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it’s possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.

But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.

The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.

“Do individuals who habitually consume burgers for lunch typically also consume fries and a Coke, rather than yogurt or a salad and a piece of fruit?” asked Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritionist at Tufts University. “I don’t think an evidence-based position can be taken unless we know and adjust for the replacement food.”

The findings are a time to reconsider how nutritional research is done in the country, some researchers said, and whether the results really help to inform an individual’s decisions.

“I would not run any more observational studies,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who studies health research and policy. “We have had enough of them. It is extremely unlikely that we are missing a large signal,” referring to a large effect of any particular dietary change on health.

Despite flaws in the evidence, health officials still must give advice and offer guidelines, said Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He believes that the data in favor of eating less meat, although imperfect, indicate there are likely to be health benefits.

One way to give advice would be to say “reduce your red meat intake,” Dr. Stampfer said. But then, “People would say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’”

Officials making recommendations feel they have to suggest a number of servings. Yet when they do, “that gives it an aura of having greater accuracy than exists,” he added.

Questions of personal health do not even begin to address the environmental degradation caused worldwide by intensive meat production. Meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Researchers have estimated that, on average, beef has about five times the climate impact of chicken or pork, per gram of protein. Plant-based foods tend to have an even smaller impact.

Perhaps there is no way to make policies that can be conveyed to the public and simultaneously communicate the breadth of scientific evidence concerning diet.

Or maybe, said Dr. Bier, policymakers should try something more straightforward: “When you don’t have the highest-quality evidence, the correct conclusion is ‘maybe.’”

Reporting was contributed by Brad Plumer in Washington.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

Dennis Liu
In reply to this post by Dennis Liu

To be candid, I am not particularly worried about BPA, especially at the relatively low temperatures I’m cooking pork and even chicken (well under 178F; typically 135 and 147, respectively).  FWIW, most of the “soft” bags available – both of the zip-loc style and the vacuum sealer style do not contain BPA.  I do not know whether commercial vacuum sealed bags do or do not.

 

For those that are concerned, it’s less than a minute to remove and reseal in a BPA-free or silicone bag. 

 

HTH,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Peter B. Hirtle <[hidden email]>
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 8:12 AM
To: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; [hidden email]
Subject: RE: [LincolnTalk] Sous vide cooking + "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice." - The New York Times

 

Dennis Liu wrote:

Heck, if you’re really busy, you can buy the pre-seasoned/marinated chicken or pork tenderloin from the market, already vacuum sealed, and literally toss it directly into the water bath.”

 

I have been unable to determine if the vacuum-sealed packages contain BPA, and hence have been reluctant to use them in my sous-vide cooker.  Have you identified BPA-free packaging?

 

Peter Hirtle


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