Eating Meat Causes Cancer
In October 2015, 22 scientists from 10 countries convened under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO) “to evaluate the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.”
The group assessed over 800 epidemiological studies on the topic, weighing the value of each study based on qualitative criteria that bore no relation to statistical validity. For example, “the studies judged to be most informative were those that considered red meat and processed meat separately.”
Conclusions were as follows (emphases added).
The mechanistic evidence for carcinogenicity was assessed as strong for red meat and moderate for processed meat. Mechanistic evidence is mainly available for the digestive tract.
The so-called “mechanistic evidence” involved chemical analysis of greater or fewer specific molecular byproducts in urine after consumption. Such results bear no statistical relation to cancer. Moreover, “strong” and “moderate” are qualitative interpretations of causality from an acausal technique. In other words, there were no statistics supporting the stated conclusions.
Then, in apparent self-contradiction, the group decided that the overall evidence was more damning for processed meat than red meat.
Overall, the group classified consumption of processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer. Additionally, a positive association with the consumption of processed meat was found for stomach cancer.
The group concluded that there is limited evidence in human beings for the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat. Chance, bias, and confounding could not be ruled out with the same degree of confidence for the data on red meat consumption, since no clear association was seen in several of the high-quality studies and residual confounding from other diet and lifestyle risk is difficult to exclude. The group classified consumption of red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Again, with statistical evidence being cast as “sufficient” or “limited,” associations being “positive,” and a conclusion of “probably,” where (causal) probability plays no part in (acausal) statistical correlation.
As to causing cancer from eating red meat and processed meat: well, the scientists just couldn’t say.
There is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of consumption of red meat and of processed meat.
Because the public supposedly possesses even less understanding than scientists who themselves misuse statistics, the WHO scientists felt compelled to interpret their unfounded findings in meritless terms that nevertheless imply credibility. Statistically speaking, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the blind are misleading the blind.
WHO’s evaluation of meat-eating causing cancer is exemplary of the common misapplication of statistics to draw unfounded conclusions. You can read such ilk regularly in health magazines and on the health pages of newspapers, as well as in science journals.
Bacon, ham and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer, the World Health Organisation has said, placing cured and processed meats in the same category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco. ~ English health writer Sarah Boseley in The Guardian newspaper
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There should be no doubt that eating animal flesh is detrimental to health. To prove it to yourself, eat nothing but fresh fruit, vegetables, and small portions of nuts and grains (seeds), for 3 weeks, and see how you feel afterwards. Then eat nothing but red meat, processed or not, for 3 weeks and compare with how you felt before. Damn statistics – there’s proof.