In a recent op-ed for the New York Daily News, Marta Zaraska—author of Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat—reveals that health studies are often funded (and therefore skewed) by the meat industry. Zaraska pointed to several examples of how the public is influenced by these biased studies before mentioning that “since 1912, not all that much has changed in the befuddlement created by meat science.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study this year—funded by The Beef Checkoff and National Pork Board—that showed eating high-protein diets improved the sleeping habits of obese people, which the media went on to publish under headlines such as “Eat More Protein for Better Sleep” alongside images of meat. Zaraska pointed to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Hypertension that came to the conclusion that eating lean beef was part of a “heart healthy diet” and another that dissociated meat with prostate cancer. Both studies were funded by the Beef Checkoff Program and The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, respectively. Zaraska revealed that this “demand-enhancing research” is “a game worth playing,” as 92 percent of the 166 nutrition studies funded between March 2015 and 2016 were favorable to the sponsor, which translates to an increase of $190 million in sales for the meat industry.
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