The meat wars: A backlash is occurring on the backlash to meat dietary recommendations published late last year

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Roy Lichenstein, Standing Rib (via Wikiart).

On 19 Nov 2019, guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that caused a backlash, and now a backlash on the backlash is occurring.

The abstract to the original 2019 Annals article, titled Unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption: Dietary guideline recommendations from the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium, had the following results and recommendations to report.

‘Dietary guideline recommendations require consideration of the certainty in the evidence, the magnitude of potential benefits and harms, and explicit consideration of people’s values and preferences.

A set of recommendations on red meat and processed meat consumption was developed on the basis of 5 de novo systematic reviews that considered all of these issues.

‘The recommendations were developed by using the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) guideline development process, which includes rigorous systematic review methodology, and GRADE methods to rate the certainty of evidence for each outcome and to move from evidence to recommendations. A panel of 14 members, including 3 community members, from 7 countries voted on the final recommendations. Strict criteria limited the conflicts of interest among panel members. Considerations of environmental impact or animal welfare did not bear on the recommendations. Four systematic reviews addressed the health effects associated with red meat and processed meat consumption, and 1 systematic review addressed people’s health-related values and preferences regarding meat consumption.


The panel suggests that adults continue current unprocessed red meat consumption (weak recommendation, low-certainty evidence). Similarly, the panel suggests adults continue current processed meat consumption (weak recommendation, low-certainty evidence).

As detailed in a new article published this week in the Journal of American Medical Association, the ensuing backlash over those meat dietary recommendations included questions about corporate ties to some of the nutrition scientist authors. . . .

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