Bad Reporting, Mediocre Science and the Dangers of Foods

A recent studyĀ is being loudly quoted in the press with headlines such as “Processed Red Meat Intake Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Risk”.Ā Ā  Most non-scientists will read the headline and come away with the impression that red meat is somehow bad for them.

If people readĀ the true title of the article, “Red meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis”, they may not understand what it was about and may venture to read more about it.

What they would find is a study that showed an increased association between the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and processed meat.Ā Ā 

Reading on they would also find that there is no association between diabetes and unprocessed meat.Ā  So what is the big difference between processed meats (sausage, hot dogs, hamburger) and unprocessed meats (steak)?

If unprocessed meat is not associated with diabetes, there must be something else than theĀ meat itself increasing the diabetes risk.Ā  Correct

As I see it, most people who eat processed meats (sausages, hot dogs and hamburgers) often eat them in a bun, with a soda and possible a side of chips or fries.

What is the single biggest risk for diabetes?Ā  Carbohydrate consumption.Ā 

What are buns, sodas, fries and chips made of?Ā  Carbohydrates.

Remember, every time you readĀ that some foodĀ is “linked” orĀ “associated with” another condition, ignore it; correlation does not equal causation.

Articles like this only serve to confuse the public and drive me nuts!

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Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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September 3, 2011 5:31 pm

So, so right – why don’t they ever bring up the bun w/the wiener or hamburger patty or the french fries, potato salad, etc.? So totally bias – get’s my goat too!

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