Canadian Professor Says Red Meat Dangers Are Over-Stated

The 2019 World Protein Summit is meeting in Lille, France.  Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in the Faculties of AgriFood Management and Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is speaking at the Summit.

Charlebois’ address relates to an exhausting analysis of red meat and processed meat studies, published last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The analysis, co-authored by food scientists from seven different countries, states that many studies of the dangers of red meat and processed meats are, at best, premature in their conclusions…

“This analysis really gave us a clear inventory of the research on the effects of red meat and the consumption of processed meat onto our bodies. So, this group of fourteen scholars spread over seven different countries looked into the studies and came to the conclusion that, to say that the consumption of red meat is premature at best.

Back in early 2016, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer put out a report stating that processed meat is ‘a Group One carcinogenic product for humans.’ The W.H.O. also stated that consumption of red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans.’ Dr. Charlebois believes that report was seen as the final word on meat protein and had a profoundly detrimental effect on the red meat sector in many countries…

Back in 2016 when the World Health Organization actually declared processed meats as a Category One product, in Canada that news wasn’t really taken seriously, but it really had an impact on the entire world. For the last few years it was just not welcomed to counter the collective wisdom in relation to protein. Since then, you’ve seen an array of different studies reinforcing that we should reduce the amount of meat we consume.”

Dr. Charlebois says that one purpose of his address at the World Protein Summit is to remind his food research colleagues that science in not about reinforcing absolutes, but to keep an open mind. He says that broad consensus within the scientific research community is dangerous and short-sighted…

There’s been too much noise, too much attention, given to one aspect of the science. Frankly, science is about debates, its about the discipline, not as an absolute. And for the last couple of years I just felt that, essentially, we had a quasi-consensus on what proteins were all about, and that’s always dangerous when it comes to science and research.”