MONDAY, Sept. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- An international panel suggests that adults continue their current levels of consumption of red or processed meat based on evidence from five systematic reviews published online Oct. 1 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Bradley C. Johnston, Ph.D., from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and colleagues developed a set of recommendations on consumption of red meat and processed meat based on five de novo systematic reviews that considered issues relating to certainty of evidence, magnitude of potential benefits and harms, and explicit considerations of people's values and preferences. A panel of 14 members from seven countries voted on the final recommendations, which were developed using the Nutritional Recommendations guideline development process.

The researchers note that four of the systematic reviews addressed the health effects associated with red and processed meat consumption and one addressed health-related values and preferences regarding meat consumption. There was a weak recommendation, with low-certainty evidence, for continuing current unprocessed red meat consumption and current processed meat consumption. The weak recommendation highlights the uncertainty associated with possible harmful effects and the small magnitude of effects; this finding is true even if the best estimates represent true causation, which seems implausible.

"It's also probably time for a major overhaul of the methods for communicating nutritional data in ways that might get through to target populations and change health outcomes," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

One author of the guidelines disclosed financial ties to health care and pharmaceutical industries; researchers from one of the reviews disclosed financial ties to the nutrition industry.

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Physician's Briefing

Updated on May 26, 2022

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