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Consumers Should Demand Evidence, Not Guesswork, On Meat-Cancer Links

Memo to Researchers: Correlation Is Not The Same As Causation

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) released a report on "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer." Accompanying the report was a recommendation that consumers should reduce their overall consumption of red meat. In response, David Martosko, the Director of Research at the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom, made the following statement:

"A clinical trial of a large number of men, published this month in the Journal of Nutrition, found that sticking to the federal government's USDA Food Guide diet reduced the risk of developing colon cancer by 26 percent. The USDA Food Guide diet includes lean red meat.(1)

"In contrast, today's AICR recommendation that consumers should reduce their consumption of meat is based almost entirely on historically unreliable epidemiological studies. Scientists look at a pool of thousands of people, trying to tease out a relationship between those who got cancer and those who reported eating more meat than average. It's an exercise in creative guesswork. We simply don't know enough about cancer prevention to justify the claim that one food or another is largely to blame.

"The science on meat and colon cancer risk is sketchy at best. And scientists involved with the AICR panel have themselves published findings indicating that there's no evidence of a link."(2)(3)

(1) Dixon et al. "Adherence to the USDA Food Guide, DASH Eating Plan, and Mediterranean Dietary Pattern Reduces Risk of Colorectal Adenoma." J. Nutr. 2007 137: 2443-2450.

(2) Lanza, Schatzkin, et al. "The polyp prevention trial continued follow-up study: no effect of a low-fat, high-fiber, high-fruit, and -vegetable diet on adenoma recurrence eight years after randomization." Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Sep;16(9): 1745-52.

(3) Flood, Sinha, Schatzkin et al. "Meat, fat, and their subtypes as risk factors for colorectal cancer in a prospective cohort of women." Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Jul 1;158(1): 59-68.

For further information or to schedule an interview, contact Tim Miller at 202-463-7112 or visit

SOURCE Center for Consumer Freedom
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