Scientist who discredited meat guidelines didn’t report past food industry ties

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A surprising new study challenged decades of nutrition advice and gave consumers the green light to eat more red and processed meat. PHOTO: AFP

(The BusinessTimes) — A surprising new study challenged decades of nutrition advice and gave consumers the green light to eat more red and processed meat.

But what the study didn’t say is that its lead author has past research ties to the meat and food industry.

The new report, published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, stunned scientists and public health officials because it contradicted long-standing nutrition guidelines about limiting consumption of red and processed meats. The analysis, led by Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada, and more than a dozen researchers concluded that warnings linking meat consumption to heart disease and cancer are not backed by strong scientific evidence.

Several prominent nutrition scientists and health organisations criticized the study’s methods and findings. But Dr Johnston and his colleagues defended the work, saying it relied on the highest standards of scientific evidence, and noted that the large team of investigators reported no conflicts of interest and conducted the review without outside funding. (…)

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