A new study that suggested that people can continue their current levels of consumption of red and processed meat has been criticized by several prominent nutrition experts, including several from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, for its problematic methods and findings. The study now faces new criticism that its lead author failed to disclose previous research ties to a food industry trade group.
The study reported that longstanding research connecting red meat consumption to heart disease and cancer is not supported by strong scientific evidence. It was later revealed that the lead author had previously received funding from the International Life Sciences Institute, a trade group whose members include one of the largest beef processors in North America as well as other large food companies. The previous study questioned health recommendations advising people to eat less sugar.
Public health experts have criticized the methodology of both the sugar study and the meat study. In an October 4, 2019 New York Times article, Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and chair of Department of Nutrition, argued that both studies used a standard to evaluate evidence that was not designed for dietary studies, and that it could be used to discredit other public health guidelines.
“Some people may be wondering what his (the lead author’s) next target will be,” said Hu. “But I’m concerned about the damage that has already been done to public health recommendations.”
Read the New York Times article: Scientists Who Discredited Meat Guidelines Didn’t Report Past Food Industry Ties