A team of international researchers says the increased risk of cancer or heart disease for meat eaters is small and not certain, making cutting back not worthwhile for those who enjoy red or processed meat. The new conclusions support studies that link meat to negative health outcomes but also say the link is weak and there is lack of certainty that meat is the culprit behind the health risks, the Associated Press reports. The authors concluded that there would be just “seven fewer cancer deaths per 1,000 people” if individuals cut three servings of meat per week from their diet, according to the AP. However, the authors also note that their own evidence is weak. They say they didn’t take factors like animal welfare of the environmental impact of meat production into account.
The contradictory conclusions of the researchers prompted calls for the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, to postpone its publication until criticisms were addressed. In response, the journal said pulling the publication would be going against the process of scientific discourse. One of the co-authors, Dr. Gordon Guyatt of Canada’s McMaster University, told the AP the attempts were “silly.”