Beef increases your risk for heart disease, says this well-circulated article by a couple of nationally known MDs. It is outlined that only 3.6 ounces of red meat daily can lead to a 42% increase in strokes for women than for women who eat less than 1.5 ounces per day. The noted culprit is saturated fat portrayed in the article as artery clogging.
First let’s look at the math here. One group is compared to a second group, so we are looking at relative numbers. For simplicity, I’ll substitute 50% for 42%. Let’s assume that a group of 1,000 women participated on each side of the study above. Now let’s assume that of the group consuming only 1.5 ounces of red meat a day, four have a stroke during the test period. Make yourself up a 1.5-ounce burger (a White Castle burger would appear a monster by comparison). No one eats 1.5 ounce of anything. OK, so I am being petty. Using the 50% “more likely” number, we conclude that of the 1,000 women eating 3.6 ounces of red meat daily, six (50% more than 4) would have a stroke during the test period.
Any influence group funding such a study would be correct in noting a 50% increase in strokes for the 3.6 oz. group versus the 1.5 oz. group. To promote cholesterol-lowering drugs, pharmaceutical companies are famous for using just such relative and misleading math. Once the fraudulent math is cleaned up, we can observe the absolute differential and draw a conclusion. In absolute terms, reducing a participant’s consumption of red meat to below White Castle proportions can theoretically save two strokes per 1,000 women.
Are we good so far? I’m telling you that ANY study that trumpets relative math as portrayed above should be, out of hand, dismissed. I would need to hear no more. With the basic math/premise in the linked article destroyed, there is zero reason to look further, but I am going to continue because the whole subject of red meat and saturated fat demands rigorous review. I will begin this review for you next Wednesday. In advance, I would like you read a little fat-eating wisdom from Ron Rosenbaum.
According to Mr. Rosenbaum, “There’s another world of fatty foods, a world beyond bacon and barbecue—not the froufrou fatty foods of foodies either, but basic, earthy, luxuriant fatty foods like roast goose, split-shank beef marrow and clotted cream. In the escalating culture war over fat, which has clothed itself in sanctity as an obesity-prevention crusade, most of these foods have somehow been left out. This makes it too easy to conflate eating fatty food with eating industrial, oil-fried junk food or even with being or becoming a fat person.”