Oh snap... ----- THE CONTINUING EDUCATION OF DR. HU The polarization we have all known in social, political, and economic circles, now extends to the dinner table and the choices we make for food on our plate. Dr. Frank Hu, Chair of the Harvard School for Public Health and Nutrition, informs us that the more highly educated of us have dropped red meat from their diet. Thank you, Dr. Hu, for informing the common folk that truly educated people no longer eat beef. If this is your idea of a litmus test for intelligence, there will be many very smart people who refute your statement and be quick to discard your flawed theory. Many are left to wonder if this is a poll or a scientific study that produced this observation by Dr. Hu. The Lancet-Eat report issued earlier this year relied on observational data meaning they asked people about their diet and health and formed conclusions based on the collected data. Over a period of years, selective use of the data points can form the basis for opinions on relationships between diet and health. The problem is people don’t always report accurately on their diet. They also don’t always remember what they eat. So many factors feed into health outcomes like body weight, exercise, and how much of certain foods are consumed. It is almost impossible to control for all the outside factors unless one places people in a dorm and controls their diet for many years. The beef industry can point to two initiatives designed to set the record straight and return the confidence of consumers supporting the continued use of beef as an important food choice. First, none other than John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods weighed in on the topic by providing a condemnation of the plant-based protein burgers pointing to their origins in the processed foods group that has come under attack on all fronts. Next the Annals of Internal Medicine, a respected medical publication, published a widely reported study debunking the recommendations of the Lancet-Eat report. Today, the interest in both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods has exploded. The market for meat substitutes is expected to hit $2.5 billion by 2023, according to Euromonitor estimates. But John Mackey, who has been a vegan for more than 20 years raises serious questions about the health benefits of plant-based meats. “The [brands] that are capturing the imagination of people — and I’m not going to name these brands because I’m afraid I will be associated with the critique of it,” says Mackey, “but some of these that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.” “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods,” The research published in Annals of Internal Medicine is strictly scientific and challenges the Lancet-EAT study based on three years of work by a group of 14 researchers in seven countries, directed by Dr. Bradley Johnston, a noted Canadian epidemiologist. The investigators reported no conflicts of interest and did the studies without outside funding. In three reviews, the new group looked at studies asking whether eating red meat or processed meats affected the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. To assess deaths from any cause, the group reviewed 61 articles reporting on 55 populations, with more than 4 million participants. The researchers also looked at randomized trials linking red meat to cancer and heart disease (there are very few), as well as 73 articles that examined links between red meat and cancer incidence and mortality. In each study, the scientists concluded that the links between eating red meat and disease and death were small, and the quality of the evidence was low to very low. Beef and red meat have populated the human diet for thousands of years providing nutritional benefits including vitamins, iron, riboflavin, zinc and other nutrients that have given humans improved cognitive powers, protein requirements, improved immune response and overall balance to the food plate. Countries relying mainly on plant-based food suffer larger malnutrition and anemia. Beef has earned a respected position in the diet and should remain an important part of any balanced diet even for highly educated people like Dr. Hu." Dayum! Take that vegans!