Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Tabloid: “Eating Meat Is Like Smoking Cigarettes”


Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet wins the prize for sensationalism for its headline after yesterday’s confused questionnaire study on meat: “Steak is as dangerous as smoking”.

A bit later in the article comes the most bizarre: the increase in risk only applies to people between 55 and 65. After 65 the cigarettes, I’m sorry – the steak, suddenly becomes a health food. Confused? Don’t be – read yesterday’s post for the details: Is It Dangerous to Eat Meat Before Age 65?

Funnily enough, the article includes comments from Dr. Dahlqvist and me on whether LCHF is dangerous or not. We address the two obvious issues:

LCHF is about – exactly what the acronym stands for – less carbohydrates and more fat, not necessarily more meat. You could even adopt a vegetarian LCHF diet, if you want.Yesterday’s study is only based on questionnaires and imaginative statistics, no evidence.

When the researcher behind the questionnaire study, Valter Longo, hears my comment he gets “annoyed”:

Instead of criticizing a minor part of what we’re saying, they should look at 20 years’ of work that we’ve done in this area. The results are conclusive. If this was only about 6,000 people and statistics I’d agree with him, but this isn’t the case, he says.

So Longo agrees with me that his questionnaire study from yesterday doesn’t prove anything, but refers to a lot of other unspecified research.

The argument is familiar. In the absence of evidence some people will refer to “200,000 studies” or “20 years’ of work”. Unfortunately, this is fuzzy and suggests an inability to find real evidence.

As no one has the time to examine such claims, one can get away with just about anything.

I don’t doubt that Longo is convinced. But convincing others that meat causes cancer between the ages of 55 and 65 – and then suddenly after 65 is protective – will requires more than his word.

Reportedly, the author himself is a vegan. And the creator of a company selling meal replacements with small amounts of protein from vegetable sources only.

Moreover, apparently the association in the age group 55 to 65 was not something they were looking for, but dug up afterwards, when an association for the entire group was missing. Which gives the statistics even less weight.

Is It Dangerous to Eat Meat Before Age 65?

Swedish Tabloid Warns of “Low-Carb Cancer”

View the original article here