Rightly or wrongly, it can feel like what the world deems as good or bad dietary advice can change on a daily basis. From one minute to the next, an ingredient can go from a miracle cure-all to an edible pariah. It’s enough to make anyone lose faith in the perceived wisdom of the scientific community.
Most of the time, these changes in nutritional advice centre around telling us that we aren’t allowed to eat something delicious. This tends to produce a mixture of groans, yelps and dumb indifference from the collective public. Just occasionally, however, the world’s foodie boffins come out with something that makes us all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Reader, today is such a day.
Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario have discovered that people who regularly eat red meat and cheese are in fact more likely to live longer, helping them to become some of the most popular scientists in the food sector. According to their study, people who indulge in three portions of dairy and 120 grams of red meat per day were likely to see the most benefit. Time to roll out the raclette and get grilling that steak.
Speaking to a group of colleagues and fellow researchers at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, Germany, McMaster Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Andrew Mente acknowledged that, “[The] findings on full-fat dairy and unprocessed red meat do challenge conventional thinking”. It’s about time conventional thinking became easier to stomach.
The study itself gathered data from over 218,000 people in over 50 countries, providing an in depth examination of a group of wide ranging test subjects. The results seem to suggest that those subjects eating the most red meat and dairy saw their chances of early death fall by 25 percent and fatal heart attack decreased by 22 percent. Given that the team took in a range of other considerations, including wealth and other health habits, the findings seem to be pretty solid.
These conclusions mark a dramatic departure from what has long been considered good science. Current NHS guidelines, for instance, suggest that people who eat more than 90g of red and processed meat per day should be looking to reduce their intake to around 70g, due to the supposed correlation between meat consumption and bowel cancer. This study certainly puts a spanner in the works.
Despite the exciting headline, the new report doesn’t mean that we can all eat whatever we like. According to Professor Mente, his data could actually show that carbohydrates could be the real enemy for concerned citizens. This could mean a whole other food group full of tasty things coming under attack. One door opens, another one closes.
We live in a time where we’re learning more and more about the food we eat on an almost daily basis. With millions of dollars being spent on research, it seems unwise to wed yourself to one specific doctrine. That being said, if you were going to pick, the one that makes a case for meat and cheese doesn’t seem a bad place to start.