by Marion Nestle
Dec 5 2022

Industry funded studies of the week: meat!

The meat industry is hard at work these days to overcome concerns about the effect of high-meat diets on health and the climate.  Here are two recent examples.

I.  Early Life Beef Consumption Patterns Are Related to Cognitive Outcomes at 1-5 Years of Age: An Exploratory StudyVictoria C WilkMichelle K McGuireAnnie J Roe.  Nutrients.  2022 Oct 26;14(21):4497.   doi: 10.3390/nu14214497.

  • Conclusion: Higher intake of beef…at 6-12 months was associated with better attention and inhibitory control at 3-5 years of age. These findings support the role of beef as an early food for cognitive development, although controlled dietary intervention studies are needed.
  • Funding: This research was funded by the Idaho Beef Council, grant number AL5329 AL5544.

II. Approximately Half of Total Protein Intake by Adults Must be Animal-Based to Meet Nonprotein, Nutrient-Based Recommendations, With Variations Due to Age and Sex.  Florent Vieux, Didier Rémond, Jean-Louis Peyraud, Nicole Darmon.  The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 152, Issue 11, November 2022, Pages 2514–2525,

  • Background: Shifting towards a more plant-based diet, as promoted in Western countries, will reduce the animal protein contribution to total proteins. Such a reduction may not only impair protein adequacy, but also the adequacy in other nutrients.
  • Conclusions: “this study showed that for this French adult population, the lowest animal protein contributions to total proteins that are compatible with nutritional adequacy, affordability, and eating habits vary from 45% to 60%, depending on age and sex, with the highest contributions needed for older populations and young women.”
  • Funding: “MS-Nutrition and MoISA received financial support from the French National Interprofessional Association of Livestock and Meat (Interbev)…Interbev had no role in the design, implementation, analysis, or interpretation of the data.”
  • Author disclosures: “The authors report no conflicts of interest.”

Comment: These are classic examples of article titles that make me immediately ask: Who paid for this?   Bingo!   They are also classic examples of studies with conclusions that can easily be predicted if you know who funded them.  The authors may believe that they have no conflicts of interest but it sure looks like they do.


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