'Meat Kills' Study is Rotten to the Bone, But NYT Swallows it Anyhow


EXCERPT: A recent article in the Times swallowed whole a junk study about an increase in death from eating red meat. ACSH advisor and biostatistician Dr. Stan Young dissected out the fat, bone, and grizzle, and found... nothing left. Here is his analysis, which also serves very well as a primer for anyone looking to debunk retrospective epidemiological studies.

[...] SY: This is an ongoing study, started in the 1980s. All manner of things are measured and all manner of things are statistically analyzed using whatever statistical method seems appropriate at the time. This is an exploratory study.

[...] The bottom line is that they could get any answer they wanted. They were able to get the answer they wanted: meat is bad for you.

"When evaluated based on disease history at baseline, the association of total protein with mortality appeared more evident among those with a history of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer (n = 1094) compared with those without disease history (n = 1547) (P-interaction = 0.05 or 0.07, depending on the model). Intakes of fish, eggs, dairy, or plant protein sources were not associated with mortality."

"Conclusions: Higher ratio of animal to plant protein in diet and higher meat intake were associated with increased mortality risk. Higher total protein intake appeared to be associated with mortality mainly among those with a predisposing disease."

SY: Using ratios is often associated with sleight of hand and it is found here. The authors were able to get a slightly better protein effect by using a ratio of animal to plant protein. Of course, the good meat effect (you live longer) was overturned by various “adjustments.”

"This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03221127. Am J Clin Nutr 2019;0:1–10."

SY: Registration is being required by many journals to help stop p-value hunting/hacking among other things. P-value hunting is asking a lot of questions and then writing a paper about a small p-value that almost surely came about due to chance. P-value hunting is also called p-hacking. This study is a good example of a continuing p-hunting/p-hacking science business model/multiple testing scam.

Finally, the nutrition/biochemistry science is quite simple. Your stomach and digestive system break down proteins into amino acids (plant or animal) and your body puts them back together into human proteins.

(This sounds pretty bad. Is there anything good about the study. Well, yes. And it happens to be hilarious.)

SY: The only good thing about this study is that people in Finland paid for it. (MORE - details)

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)