Science

Vegetarianism ‘More Dangerous Than Smoking’

Apr 01, 2012

Researchers at Harvard Medical School reported last month that consumption of red meat greatly increased the risk of death from all causes. Their 16 year study found that  each extra three ounces of red meat eaten daily increases one's risk of cardiovascular disease by 16%, cancer by 10% and death from all causes by 12%.

However, this week researchers at the Coalition for a Balanced Diet - a group funded mostly be large U.S. meat companies - have presented a contrasting study. The new study finds that people who follow a strictly vegetarian diet actually increase their risk of all cancers by a whopping 385%. This striking conclusion would mean that excluding meat from one's diet contributes more to one's cancer risk than any other single cause - including smoking.

"We can't be certain why red meat is so good for your health until more studies are done."

The carefully crafted study followed for ten years a group of 2,000 middle aged adults in the United States who had no dietary constraints. The control group consisted of 1,800 adults in Eastern Europe on a strict vegetarian diet.

The team researchers are unsure why vegetarians are at such an increased risk. "Our basic hypothesis red meat contains some sort of yet undetected micronutrients that have protective effects.  But we can't be certain why red meat is so good for your health until more studies are done."

However other scientists were skeptical of the new claims because the group of vegetarians was recruited exclusively from north central Ukraine, a region heavily affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

"You can't really do a proper prospective study on cancer rates using test subjects who were exposed to high levels of raidation in a nuclear power accident.."

The Coalition for a Balanced Diet had no comment on the record.

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  • david

    Haha, this is so dumb! Don’t think there could be any other reason for the difference in health on other sides of the planet from each other besides diet?!?!

  • dhb211

    1. Correlation does not imply causation. In other words, just because they found that vegetarianism was associated with higher rates of cancer doesn’t mean that the vegetarianism causes cancer.
    2. The difference in the location of the two groups is a huge confounding factor. There is no way a legitimate, credible research study on this subject would have had the meat eating group from middle America and the vegetarians from Chernobyl, Ukraine. That is absurd. They probably went into the study wanting to show that vegetarianism is more dangerous than smoking and that’s why they picked Chernobyl. Otherwise, why couldn’t they have just studied vegetarians in America?

    Personally, I trust the conclusions from the Harvard research study a whole lot more than the research coming out of the Coalition for a Balanced Diet which is funded by major U.S. meat companies.

  • http://www.chocolateandbeyond.co.uk/ Chocolate and Beyond

    “Coalition for a Balanced Diet – a group funded mostly be large U.S. meat companies” – isn’t that all you need to know that this ‘study’ is going to be somewhat flawed and simply not worth the paper it was published on?

    Oh, and then the study subjects are “recruited exclusively from north central Ukraine, a region heavily affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear
    accident.”

    I can’t believe you even bothered to publish this nonsense!

  • C Murphy

    This is so ridiculous, I am howling at it! For one thing, they are still eating animals products if it’s vegetarian-based. I wonder which government agency tied to the beef industry backed this study up? hahahaha I’ve never heard anything so bizarre in my life. I’d be ashamed to have even put the article out there with that misleading title. More dangerous than smoking. hahahahaha Okay…do dee do dee doooooo. (plus, where’s the link proving these findings?)

  • Dheeraj

    Wow meat made so many people dumb below.
    LOOK AT THE DATE!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mel.baker.125 Mel Baker

    This is so funny. Thanks for the laugh! HA HA