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AMIF dismisses processed meat-cancer link

Red and processed meat continues to be a healthy part of a balanced diet and that nutrition decisions should be based on the total body of evidence –not on single studies that include weak and inconsistent evidence, The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) has said in response to a new study in the British Journal of Cancer.

AMIF President James H. Hodges noted that this study linking red and processed meats to pancreatic cancer was an epidemiological study, which uses surveys and data – not test tubes or microscopes.  Not only was the association found weak, it was inconsistent.  Researchers found different results for men and women and even admitted themselves that their results may have been a chance finding and needed to be confirmed.

“Too often, epidemiological findings are reported as ‘cased closed’ findings, as if a researcher has discovered the definitive cause of a disease or illness. But epidemiological studies look at a multitude of diet and lifestyle factors in specific volunteer human populations and use sophisticated statistical methods to try and tease out relationships or associations between these factors and certain forms of disease. This method of comparing relationships has many limitations which are widely recognised by researchers in this field. More often than not, epidemiological studies, over time, provide more contradictions than conclusions,” Hodges said.

Hodges concluded by saying, “All of these studies struggle to disentangle other lifestyle and dietary habits from meat and processed meat and admit that they can't do it well enough to use their conclusions to accurately recommend people change their dietary habits.  What the total evidence has shown, and what common sense suggests, is that a balanced diet and a healthy body weight are the keys to good health.”

Source: American Meat Institute

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