A new re-analysis of the science concerning links between processed meat and chronic disease indicates that studies showing a relationship between the two are very low quality and suffer from, as the authors put it, “serious risk of bias and imprecision.”
This conclusion is unsurprising, as it follows a recent set of analyses that rocked the nutrition world. That earlier set of studies, published in Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this month, concluded that guidelines warning us to consume less red and processed meat are based on evidence with very low certainty. The researchers who performed those analyses asserted there is no way to determine, for any given individual, what the risks or benefits of eating meat might be.
In that regard, this new study, published October 17 in PLOS ONE, is similar not only in its contradiction of decades-old dietary guidance, but in its indictment of the science behind nutritional guidance in general.
Unlike the studies from Annals of Internal Medicine, the new study was not a systematic review or meta-analysis of available studies, but a review of those kinds of reviews. The eight authors, all from the University of Copenhagen, used two methods to assess the quality of all the studies considered.