Q&A: Why Do Studies Say Red Meat Is Dangerous?

This great question just came up on the CSF Forum:

“So I found this interesting article on CNN this morning. I know CSF supports eating meat because of protein and that the way we cook it is what makes the meat more dangerous to our health. Why don’t these studies say the same?” (i.e., why do they say red meat is dangerous?)

And here was my answer:

Good question! First, I would stay away from any and all nutrition reporting in the mainstream media. They almost always mis-read studies, and jump to all kinds of conclusions that the data don’t support.

Radicalism gets more attention, which sells more ad space, right?

So the incentive is against balanced, even-headed reporting. Not good.

Also, most journalists lack the nutritional knowledge and even knowledge of how to critically read scientific studies in general, to make useful assessments of them. Result? Junk!

Good nutrition sources are things like Whole Health Source, Ray Peat, etc., though everyone will disagree on some things. Generally, independent health researchers who also blog are more to be trusted IMO.

If you look at page 7 of the actual study, you’ll see that diets high in red meat were actually the LEAST powerful factor in worsened health outcomes. All the other factors they looked at mattered more. So red meat? Not a big deal, according to this study.

Also, they bizarrely formatted their questions… for instance, they looked at the negative impacts of diets that are “low in polyunsaturated fats” – that’s just insane. Why did they not also look at the negative impacts of diets “HIGH in polyusaturated fats”? That would be much more likely to cause negative health impacts, due to the toxic nature of lipid peroxides derived from PUFA.

Most nutrition studies just are done in really weird ways that don’t make sense to me, and make the results almost meaningless much of the time.

It’s not that hard to figure out what to eat to be healthy and acne-free – we just need to look at people who are ACTUALLY HEALTHY (i.e. who have NOT transitioned to modern crap factory food), and study what they eat, and then derive basic principles.

Weston A. Price did this in the 1930s and wrote a giant book about it. What did he find? (I’m paraphrasing here, and poorly so, from memory, so just read this for the gist of it):

  • The Gaels ate lots of oats, seaweed, shellfish, crab, lobster, etc. and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
  • The Maasai ate lots of red meat, blood, and milk, and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
  • The Kitavans ate lots of root vegetables, some fish, and coconuts, IIRC, and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
  • The Hadza ate lots of honey, wild game, and other stuff I don’t remember and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)
  • The Swiss ate lots of milk, cheese, and sourdough whole-grain bread made from einkorn and rye, and were exceedingly healthy. (Zero acne!)

Things to remember though, about all these diets….

  • All food was grown organically back then
  • Zero vegetable oil consumed (wasn’t invented until WWII)
  • Zero fluoride in the water, and zero pesticides on the food
  • High mineral density in the soil, and the wild nature, that produced the food (no Green Revolution in these places yet)
  • All animals predominantly pasture-raised or wild
  • All seafood wild-caught, in oceans that weren’t yet filled with toxins
  • Zero added sugar (not available yet)
  • Zero added iron, B vitamins, or other synthetic nutri-junk
  • All grains consumed in whole-grain form
  • Traditional soaking, sprouting, and fermenting techniques widely used on grains and legumes
  • Zero EMFs (for the most part – radio was rolled out in late 1910’s, but still nothing like widespread EMF exposure today)
  • A healthy natural environment, with nothing like the 80,000+ chemicals leaked everywhere that we’re now dealing with

Worth nothing is that many of these cultures Price looked at got SUPER unhealthy when they started eating manufactured white flour, sugar, and other junk, which replaced their ancestral foods. Western imperialism at its best!

At this point, I would not trust any nutritional studies, hardly at all. They’re almost all useless in my opinion. Much better to use reasoning and anthropological study like Price did. Study people who are getting good results, and replicate what they’re doing (using your own locally available high-quality foods).

One additional wrinkle with meat that most studies don’t take into account, besides cooking method creating carcinogens, is that EMFs make iron more toxic in the body. So you’d have to ALSO factor in EMF exposure into the study.

Hope this helps!

To translate this into modern terms, all you really have to do is shop at your farmer’s market and buy from farmers who don’t use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, but who instead rebuild soil and work with nature to grow healthy food. Failing that, buy organic, and avoid all vegetable oil and processed foods, drink fluoride-free water, and you’ll be golden. Well, you’ll be well on the way at least.

There are many other acne triggers that are usually necessary to fix, and real life hidden triggers that crop up everywhere, which is what our master guide is all about. 🙂

About Devin Mooers

Devin MooersHey! Over the past 10 years, I've developed a powerful system for clearing acne with a little-known diet- and lifestyle-based method, and I want to spread the love. That's why I started Clear Skin Forever back in 2011. I studied engineering and product design at Stanford University, and graduated in the top 5% of my class, but afterward, I decided to focus on writing about health, since I found it so fulfilling to help people clear their acne for good. Thanks for reading, and sign up for email updates to stay in the loop with clear skin tips! Also, be sure to check out our book if you haven't yet, all about how to fix acne permanently with diet and lifestyle changes. We've helped thousands of people get clear skin this way!

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{ 48 Comments }

  1. Sam says

    Hi Devin,

    How low PUFA diets do you recommend? Do you think you can get all the PUFAs you need from eating beans, whole grains and whole milk? I have always felt terrible every time I have eaten seeds, fish oil and other EFA supplements.

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Sam! Yeah, definitely. Very low PUFA is good. It’s all about quality and freshness with PUFA – most fish oils, seeds, supplements, etc. are totally rancid by the time you ingest them. Yes, the Inuit traditionally eat tons of seal blubber (high in PUFA), but it’s extremely fresh and non-oxidized when ingested, and they also eat thyroid glands of seals, which provides loads of iodine and thyroid hormone to block lipid peroxidation of that PUFA.

      How do you feel with raw oysters, have you tried that? They’re a prime acne-busting food, with lots of zinc and also super-fresh DHA.

  2. Brooke Turley says

    Ok, you’re officially talking crappy science, in light of this article about marigolds and chickens. Apparently it very much does indeed improve eggs to have marigolds in the chickens’ diets.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/scialert.net/fulltext/amp.php%3fdoi=ijps.2017.11.15

    I certainly hope that no one has gone and altered either their own diet or that of their poultry, just because of your half-baked scare tactics. Good grief. “ Fake orange” in nature, indeed.

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Brooke! Wow, color me (majorly) wrong. Thanks for pointing this out! That was really sloppy – I don’t know what I thought that marigold color would not be related to an antioxidant carotene. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I’m sorry about this carelessness – I have removed this from the post after following up on the articles you linked! I will try to be more careful next time.

  3. Brooke Turley says

    Hi, I hate to burst your anti-marigold bubble, but the thing is, marigolds are orange themselves due to caratenoids! They’re full of nutrients, actually, and there’s no such thing as “fake orange” in nature.

    (Unless I count the time that my dad consumed massive quantities of beta-carotene in his heroic search for a natural “fake tan”. That time, “fake orange” definitely fit the bill.)

    Here’s an article that details the nutritional profile of marigolds:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464612000734

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Brooke! (Just duplicating the response here to your other comment) Wow, color me (majorly) wrong. Thanks for pointing this out! That was really sloppy – I don’t know what I thought that marigold color would not be related to an antioxidant carotene. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I’m sorry about this carelessness – I have removed this from the post after following up on the articles you linked! I will try to be more careful next time.

  4. tom hennessy says

    Researchers in a recent study took 60 women with hyperandrogenemia which has cystic acne as a major symptom, and reduced the iron in 30 by phlebotomy, and gave the ‘standard of care’ to the other 30, found, phlebotomy to reduce iron levels was as effective as the drugs used in the ‘standard of care’.

    Effect of phlebotomy versus oral contraceptives containing cyproterone acetate on the clinical and biochemical parameters in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. J Ovarian Res 12, 78 (2019).

    https://doi.org/10.1186/s13048-019-0554-9

    There seems to be more to the iron than we fully realize ..

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Tom – whoa, that’s fascinating! Great find! Amazing that phlebotomy brought on normal menstruation in 44% of subjects – I bet if they also added 3,000 IU of retinol, it would have improved results even more (vit. A boosts ceruloplasmin production to bind excess free iron).

  5. Luo says

    Stress can induce a series of negative effects on the human body. Many people are easily depressed under pressure, which has a bad influence on the treatment of acne.
    Some people overeating under pressure, too much sugar can easily induce acne.
    And stress can make people unable to sleep, and lack of sleep has too much effect on the skin.

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Master your acne in 4 weeks or less
  • Fix the root causes of your acne: fluoride, diet, sleep, stress & more
  • Exclusive forum access with 4,000+ members
  • Food Explorer App with skin safety ratings of 450+ foods
  • 96% of customers satisfied