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31 COMMENTS

  1. The article says the disclosure rules were fully followed. They require 3 years of disclosure, and the guy’s ties are from 4 years ago. I really don’t see a problem from the scientist in question here. If the journal wants 4 years of disclosure they should have asked for that. This is click bait.

  2. So what has his previous or even current ties have to do with the science? If the science is bad, his critics will be able to shoot it down, if not, shut-the-fuck-up and pass me the steak.

  3. Now, this does not necessarily invalidate the study and it looks like the scientist actually followed disclosure procedures. HOWEVER, knowing the scientist’s previous ties and the content of the study, it may be worthwhile to examine the study with a close eye and make judgements for yourself.

    I also look forward to replication studies to provide a greater amount of consensus data.

  4. Guy’s checking a worrying amount of boxes on the expert for hire checklist, if he’s making a habit of industry-funded research.

    I suppose we’ll have to check back in five to ten years and see whether or not his career is in ruins.

  5. I couldn’t read the NYT article because of the paywall, but I read this one instead: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/health-experts-explain-complications-red-meat-study/story?id=65980232

    Whether or not he followed the guidelines, the researcher Bradley Johnson probably has biases that influence the kinds of research he takes on and his conclusions. One year outside of claiming he has a conflict of interest sounds like trying to get off on a technicality. I wouldn’t put much stock into his study, it’s an outlier that goes against a large amount of well established research that doesn’t have these conflicts. Even if accurate, it isn’t taking into account the environmental or ethical impacts of animal agriculture.

    Whether or not you agree with his philosophy, I always appreciated this quote:
    “People love to hear good news about their bad habits.” – Dr. John McDougall

  6. When Dr. Johnston and his colleagues first published the sugar study, they said that ILSI had no direct role in conducting the research other than providing funding, but later amended their disclosure statement in the Annals after The Associated Press obtained emails showing that ILSI had “reviewed” and “approved” the study’s protocol.

    ILSI has a history of gathering members of academia willing to go against established public health knowledge to help fight restrictions on Agro and pharmaceutical businesses. The fact that they kept this secret in their first study to me is a red flag that the parameters they set for the study (and probably the one about being able to eat more processed meats) is bunk. In the meat study, he also used a study procedure that’s traditionally used to measure pharmaceuticals and not diet which to me doesn’t make sense unless your goal is to prove that processed meats are healthier than has long been established by the scientific community through vigorous and longstanding testing.

  7. > Three years ago, Johnston published a different review on sugar consumption, once again in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The advice was similar: Johnston said there was weak evidence on recommendations to cut dietary sugar.

    That’s all I needed to hear. Claiming that is shady as fuck. Too bad, I love red meat.

  8. Let’s be honest, the main problem at least in the USA is quantity vs quality

    We eat tons more food than we need to

    And as a guy you get made fun of if you don’t pig out

  9. I can tell you that all these studies on food are crap. 70 years ago, the government said milk was good for heart attack patients. They said eggs were good for you and now it has too much cholesterol. Chinese restaurants were taboo because MSG caused cancer, which turnes out to be a lie. The food pyramid told us to eat 6 servings of bread a day and now itll kill you. As far as beef is concerned, they come up with a new way it could kill you about every 5 years. My favorite is when americans try to tell us how studies have determined that certain ethnic foods are bad for you now. Mostly Asian food like msg or tofu. 1000 year old cultures who have been eating this stuff for hundreds of years and all of a sudden it causes cancer. Its all crap.what we all should try is not eating so damn much.

  10. I have yet to see any research done in this arena regarding meat quality and farming practices. What one feeds the animal for example is of utmost importance in nutritional value or lackthereof. A pasture raised, grassfed grass finished steak is a completely different food product than processed deli roast beast, for example.

  11. Color me not surprised. Coca-Cola attempted the same ploy a few years back and were roundly accused of buying scientific research. The contract was cancelled by the “research facility’.

  12. every industry is out to screw the the country including the president, this is what USA has now become… a free for all as long as the bottom line ticks upwards

  13. Unless we do a randomized intervention study with thousands of people who we carefully follow over at least several years, we won’t really “know” whether red meat alone actually causes or does not cause certain health outcomes.

    All the studies purporting to show (or not show) an effect of red meat on <pick your health outcome> have to adjust for confounding variables. And because of the healthy user bias, we can never fully adjust for all the confounding variables.

    When you actually look at the results of studies like this, you also have to keep in mind the effect size. So much ink is spilled over whether red meat is bad for you, but we’re not talking about a huge effect here.

    On the population level, if these effects sizes are to be believed, we may be able to save many lives by recommending a reduction in red meat intake. But there are two very important points to keep in mind: (1) this is on the population level. On the individual level the effect sizes are quite small; and (2) not being overweight is *by far* the most valuable thing to reduce your risk of literally everything. So if you exercise, sleep well, and of normal weight, the fact that you add beef to your kale salad **is probably fine**.

  14. “But as recently as December 2016 he was the senior author [on a similar study](https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/well/eat/a-food-industry-study-tries-to-discredit-advice-about-sugar.html?module=inline) that tried to discredit international health guidelines advising people to eat less sugar. That study, which also appeared in the [Annals of Internal Medicine](https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2593601/scientific-basis-guideline-recommendations-sugar-intake-systematic-review), was paid for by the [International Life Sciences Institute, or ILSI, an industry trade group](https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/health/ilsi-food-policy-india-brazil-china.html?module=inline) largely supported by agribusiness, food and pharmaceutical companies and whose [members have included](https://ilsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Members.pdf) McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cargill, one of the largest beef processors in North America.” The guy sounds legit… *cough*

  15. This is one of those things people love to dogpile on, but honestly it is present in almost all of research.

    How do most research studies get done? Well someone has to fund it which is usually an interested third party, and someone has to care about the subject matter to actually choose to study it, so someone with connections to the industry likely.

    It’s true there are ways to fund and back things that don’t require direct interest from people within the industry, but a ton of research would never get done without corporate or industry resources. That’s why you have disclosure rules so biases can be reported and examined to see if they are influencing results.

    Disclosures were done within the rules on this one

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