The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) said that processed meat continues to be a healthy part of a balanced diet and that nutrition decisions should be based on the total body of evidence – not on a study that stands in contrast to other research and to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. AMIF issued the statement in response to a study in the journalCirculation.

AMIF President James H. Hodges noted that this is an epidemiological study, which by itself is not sufficient to establish cause and effect. Rather, this type of study allows researchers to identify associations that may merit further study. Even the authors of the study state in the paper that “Associations of processed meat consumption with diabetes mellitus or CHD could relate to generally less healthy diet or lifestyle rather than causal effects of processed meats.”

“Too often, epidemiological findings are reported as ‘cased closed’ findings, as if a researcher has discovered the definitive cause of a disease or illness. But epidemiological studies look at a multitude of diet and lifestyle factors in specific volunteer human populations and use sophisticated statistical methods to try and tease out relationships or associations between these factors and certain forms of disease. This method of comparing relationships has many limitations which are widely recognized by researchers in this field. More often than not, epidemiological studies, over time, provide more contradictions than conclusions,” Hodges said.

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