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Health promotion and public health
Evidence from randomised trials linking intake of red meat to diseases—including cardiovascular disease and cancer—is weak
  1. Jane Fletcher
  1. Nutrition Nurses, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mrs Jane Fletcher, Nutrition Nurses, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, Birmingham B15 2TH, UK; jane.fletcher{at}

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Commentary on: Zeraatkar D, Johnston BC, Bartoszko J, et al. Effect of lower vs higher red meat intake on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes: a systematic review of randomized trials. Ann Intern Med 2019. doi: 10.7326/M19-0622. [Epub ahead of print 1 Oct 2019].

Implications for practice and research

  • Moderate consumption of red meat can be part of a healthy diet, and nurses are well-placed to reinforce health eating messages.

  • Further research into a causative link between red meat intake and the development of disease will inform future health recommendations.


Epidemiological studies have established a link between red meat consumption and the risk of developing various diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer in humans.1 In a press release in 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer summarised available evidence regarding the potential carcinogenicity of red meat.2 …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.