97. What is the deal with red meat and does how hard you step matter?

fitness nutrition Dec 30, 2020

By: Michael Beiter

The Journal of the American Medical Association publishes 48 times per year on everything biomedicine. 

Two of their most viewed articles from 2020 are worth sharing. 

The first: Backlash Over Meat Dietary Recommendations Raises Questions About Corporate Ties to Nutrition Science. 

The second: Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults. 

You are asked to eat a fair amount of protein and we suggest no restrictions on where that protein comes from. It can be fish, white meat, red meat, eggs, protein shakes, or plant sources. Where it comes from doesn't matter as much as the idea that you are getting a certain amount (1 gram per pound of lean body tissue). 

This year one of the fashionable claims against red meat was that it caused increased risks of cancer and likelihood of disease. 

The highest level of scientific evidence we have available suggests these claims are not true. 

The Annals published 5 systematic reviews—4 that included results from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and observational studies examining the relationship between red meat and health, and a fifth that looked at health-related values and preferences about eating meat. Based on the reviews, the authors produced a guideline that concluded adults needn’t change their meat-eating habits.

Until further evidence is provided and the experts we trust to provide us with quality nutrition advice tell us otherwise you don't need to worry about your red meat intake aside from making it fit your calorie, protein, and fat numbers. 

Furthermore, this article explains the influence of special interest groups on nutrition research.

The second article further supports our suggestion that you get 10,000 steps per day. It asserts a link between lower rates of mortality and those who reach this bench mark daily.

In this observational study that included 4840 participants, a greater number of steps per day was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio for 8000 steps/d vs 4000 steps/d, 0.49). There was no significant association between step intensity and all-cause mortality after adjusting for the total number of steps per day. 

While observational studies aren't as high of quality as randomized control trials they still count as scientific evidence. 

The importance of their findings is that you don't need to worry about running or getting your steps in with higher intensity levels via HIIT training. Getting them in with the lowest intensity possible provides the same benefit as if you were to sprint them out from an all cause mortality perspective. 

This fits with the 'minimum effective dose' idea. If you can achieve the same benefit walking as you can running why would you subject yourself to the pounding and high impact that comes with running? 

Answer: you shouldn't. 

So get your steps in and take the time to do it by walking. About the only reason to increase the intensity of how you get your steps in is if you are under a time crunch. And that is indicative of you not prioritizing your time for self care very well - another discussion entirely. 

What do you think of these articles? 

Sources: 

Rubin R. Backlash Over Meat Dietary Recommendations Raises Questions About Corporate Ties to Nutrition Scientists. JAMA. 2020;323(5):401–404. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.21441

Saint-Maurice PF, Troiano RP, Bassett DR, et al. Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA. 2020;323(12):1151–1160. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1382

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