The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review finds unprocessed red meats are one of the best sources of high quality protein and make important contributions to nutrient intakes

This paper was published in Meat Science 2014 Nov;98(3):445-51

Study title and authors:
Red meats: Time for a paradigm shift in dietary advice.
Binnie MA, Barlow K, Johnson V, Harrison C.
Canadian Pork Council, 1962 Faircloth Road, London, Ontario N6G 5J3, Canada. Electronic address:

This paper can be accessed at:


Binnie notes that a growing body of research suggests dietary advice to limit red meat is unnecessarily restrictive and not supported by current evidence.

This review found:
(i) Large population studies both in Europe and North America have recently reported no association between intakes of unprocessed red meat and any cause of death, including cardiovascular disease or cancer.
(ii) This is consistent with the findings of the largest meta-analyses of the worldwide evidence showing no association between unprocessed red meat and coronary heart disease.
(iii) Recommendations to limit red meat intakes date back several decades and were originally intended to reduce saturated fat intakes. Recent meta-analyses have concluded that there is no clear evidence to support decades of dietary guidelines to cut saturated fat intake.
(iv) Meanwhile such guidance may have inadvertently contributed to dietary changes associated with the rapid rise in the prevalence of obesity since the 1970s as well as other risk factors for heart disease.
(v) A decline in energy from nutrient-rich foods such as beef, milk and eggs has been accompanied by an excessive increase in energy from fats (including trans fats) and refined carbohydrates found in many processed convenience foods. The resulting energy gap has likely contributed to obesity and chronic disease.
(vi) The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) followed close to half a million people in 10 European countries for more than 12 years. The EPIC study found no significant association between unprocessed red meat intakes and all-cause mortality or death due to CVD, cancer or other causes. Furthermore, a higher risk of all-cause mortality was observed among participants with very low or no red meat consumption.
(vii) A recent analysis of data from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) concluded that meat consumption was not associated with mortality. Researchers reported no significant association between red meat intake including beef, pork, ham, and organ meats and total mortality or cause-specific mortality due to cardiovascular disease or cancer. Those who ate red meat more often tended to have lower body mass index and a smaller waist circumference. Furthermore, those who ate red meat more often were less likely to have hypertension than those who ate red meat less often.
(viii) In addition to high quality protein, red meat contains important essential micronutrients including, iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and a range of B-vitamins including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamins B6 and B12.
(ix) The iron and zinc found in red meats is more bioavailable than in alternative food sources, and red meat can enhance the absorption of these important minerals. Iron plays vital roles in children's early cognitive development, normal energy metabolism and the immune system. Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, wound healing and for children's normal growth and reproductive development.
(x) Red meats also contain useful amounts of the minerals selenium and potassium. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and is necessary for immune system function. Potassium plays an important role in blood pressure regulation.
(xi) Red meats also provide a range of B-vitamins including thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12. B-vitamins play important roles in the functioning of the nervous system and in releasing energy from foods.
(xii) Recent evidence also challenges decades of advice to limit naturally nutrient-rich foods such as red meats in efforts to reduce saturated fat intake. According to a 2014 review and meta-analysis, current evidence does not support decades of dietary guidelines that encourage low consumption of saturated fat to promote heart health. This review takes into account evidence from 45 observational studies and 27 randomised controlled trials on coronary heart disease risks based on dietary data from more than 600,000 people in Europe, North America and Asia.
(xiii) An earlier meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies also concluded that saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. In another review of evidence-based dietary guidance on saturated fat and cardiovascular disease, the authors concluded that dietary recommendations did not reflect the evidence.
(xiv) Energy intakes from processed foods have increased dramatically at the expense of nutrient-rich foods, such as red meat. Research suggests processed foods are associated with the growing burden of obesity and associated diseases in recent decades.

Binnie concludes: "Unprocessed red meats are one of the best sources of high quality protein and make important contributions to nutrient intakes. It is time for dietary advice that emphasizes the value of unprocessed red meat as part of a healthy balanced diet".