OPINION: Part 1 – NZ Heart Foundation Recommendations – Fact or Fiction in 2020?

The NZ Heart Foundation released new recommendations for red meat consumption on 27 October 2020.

They recommend that red meat intake is reduced to less than 350 grams per week and is replaced by a range of plant-foods including legumes, soy, nuts and seeds.

I am taking a look at the position paper published with these recommendations, checking out the references they have provided and looking at other research into protein requirements and the difference between plant and meat-based proteins.

In this first video, I share an overview of the position paper. The NZHF claim that reducing the consumption of red meat will lower cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. However, they don’t provide any references in support of this claim. The cholesterol-diet-heart hypothesis is highly contested, with considerable evidence reporting that lower cholesterol increases your risk of dying from all causes. I will talk more about this in a future video.

This position paper states that the rate of heart attacks and strokes is the number one killer of Kiwis. Is it a coincidence that world wide, over the last 70 years, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancers have been steadily increasing – since the first recommendations to reduce red meat and replace this with more plant foods were introduced.

This position paper also mentioned that red meat consumption in NZ has decreased over the last 10 years. Yet our heart disease continues to increase. If this is the case, then what will happen to our heart disease rates if we decrease red meat consumption even further? Maybe it’s something else and not the red meat?

Over a number of videos, I will take a look at all 35 of the references used to support the NZ Heart Foundation position. Many of these references have nothing to do with heart disease. A lot of them are other position papers from other health foundations – so they are really referencing themselves. Some of them are position papers about environmental concerns and others are from the big corporate food industry.

It is really important that the information provided by the NZ Heart Foundation is accurate and assesses all the evidence. We should be able to trust their advice as being health-focused, evidence-based and without political or agenda bias.

Personally, I believe it unlikely that red meat would become dangerous to our health in the last 70 years. Humans have been consuming red meat for 2-3 millions of years; this is the food that our whole physiology and biochemistry is based on. Why would this suddenly become dangerous to our health in the last 70-years?

I believe it is something else that is causing the dramatic increases in chronic disease. We have been witnessing the largest epidemiological study ever undertaken, world-wide for 70 years. The results clearly show that replacing red meat with other foods has not been good for our health. Trying to solve a problem, by doing the same thing caused it, has never worked. We need a new solution.

I am really passionate about improving the health of Kiwis. I am really concerned for the health of our children, who are predicted to live shorter life-spans than their parents. There are many different ways of eating that are healthy, based on eating real, unprocessed food. We should all be encouraged to choose the one that is most suited to us.

I would really appreciate your support in helping me get this discussion going and asking for more accountability from these organisations. Would you please share this and future videos. Thank you.

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