Expert Pitch

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 1, 2019) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Daniel J. Hoffman and Donald W. Schaffner are available to comment on research in the Annals of Internal Medicine about the health risks of eating red and processed meats.

Hoffman, an associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, can discuss whether people should continue limiting consumption of red and processed meats.

“In the end, the authors of the publications really didn’t disagree with current dietary recommendations in that they don’t say ‘eat more meat,’” Hoffman said. “They simply said that, based on their review of the existing literature, there doesn’t seem to be any convincing evidence of a health benefit from lowering meat intake. At the same time, there is no reported health risk for lowering meat intake and there may a profound environmental benefit from a lower meat intake and production. And there is a substantial body of evidence that controls for many confounding factors and suggests that eating less meat is beneficial. Simply, is there any reason to change from eating 10 ounces of meat per week to 6 ounces per week? Probably not. Yet, for people who are consuming a large amount of meat, a reduction, not complete abstinence, may impart some benefits.”

Schaffner, an extension specialist in food science and distinguished professor in the Department of Food Science, can discuss the changing nature of the apparent scientific consensus and the difficulties in coming up with science-based dietary recommendations.

“I know it can be frustrating for people to hear about studies like this one, and they are confused about what to do,” Schaffner said. “It seems like one week red meat is bad for you and the next week it’s not. I think it’s important to realize that science is not an exact process and coming up with recommendations like this are challenging.”

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