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Yesterday, a friend was nice enough to share an article discussing a study that condemns red meat in any amount. It's a horrible report on a study that sensationalizes and contorts results. Most professional studies list constraints and limitations of the study and bring to light possible bias. However, the report did not mention those. It also singled out red meat as a major contributor to death of any kind. Awesome right? Looking at the report, I could also assume breathing would lead to death with the reasoning they used. Actually, anything will cause death.

The report didn't indicate exactly how results were analyzed. From what it seems, the study is trying to force causation from correlation. As easy as it may seem, it is not how research business is done. I have not read the actual study, nor do I intend to. There are smarter people than I who have already commented on the story and say things better than I ever could. One response by Robb Wolf can be found here and another article by Gary Taubes discussing poor application of research can be found here. Why do I reference these people? Simple. They are experts in their area. If you really want to read about the in's and out's of poorly done research and the evolution of it's application to the standard American diet, read Gary Taube's book title Good Calories, Bad Calories. It is about research. It will not dictate how you need to lead your life, but it may affect how you lead your life in terms of nutrition because of the insight it offers. It will also allow you the freedom to breakdown reports such as the one mentioned above and make your own calls on its usefulness.

I'm not going to say much about the report on red meat. I love red meat. I love my uncured bacon. I am healthy, as proven by physical measures and blood tests. My diet allows me to take care of my family, work, and myself. It's more than a lot of people on other diets...and the same diet. I believe the key to everything is knowing yourself (and I mean everything).

Knowing yourself is the most important key. Why? You should base HOW you make changes to your nutrition in regards to YOU. Will you commit to a diet on yoru own or do you need a diet buddy, coach, friend, or family assistance? Will you fall off the bandwagon if you have just one cheat meal? What about two? Do you need to remove things from your diet completely or can you taper? If you start adding "caution" foods back into your diet, will you be honest with your reaction to them or lie  to yourself so you can have those food items again? Do you blame weight on everything but what you eat, such as genetics? Do you like having control of your diet or do you let yoru diet control you? These types of questions should be taken into consideration. Serious consideration. Know the answers, know yourself before you start a diet. If your mind isn't open enough to be intimate with your relationship to nutrition, you're driving in the blind with any dietary changes you attempt to make...especially if you want them to be lifelong changes.

Knowing yourself allows you to identify any bias. The last thing I want to hear as a bacon eater is that it is killing me. So I wait. As angry as I am, I wait and reread reports. And I ask myself if there is anything in the report that warrants a lifestyle change. Does the red meat article warrant a change in your lifestyle? Maybe, maybe not. One thing I've come to realize is that diet is a personal choice. Some people honestly do not mind doing damage to their bodies at the expense of the what they eat. The emotional and mental feelings derived from food choice can be enough to determine diet. I have vegetarian friends. They are fit, they are lively. They are at the totally opposite spectrum of the diet spectrum from me. They are happy with their diet and the results of it. They are smart people and have chosen to eat a certain way. Do I agree with it? No. Is it my place to condemn them for being adult enough to make their own decision rather than let the media determine it for them? Not at all.

I don't want the government or media telling me what to eat. I want honest research and data to be available for me to make my own decisions. When poor reports on poor research are let out, resist any knee jerk reaction. Be smart enough to break down what was done, what results were actually found, and what recommendations are given. Ask yourself is there anything relevant that you need to apply to your life based on what was reported. If not, move on. If people you care about are not doing the same, help them come to their own conclusions, don't make it for them. If they don't know why they are doing something, the choice may not stick later down the road. Most importantly, disuade people from making knee jerk reactions. That at least will allow information to sink in before a decision is made. Dont' let sensationalized media, like this meat article, be such a determining factor. I like to think of it as humor rather than a real story. Maybe it's all a joke.
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