Vegetarian Society – response to BBC2 Horizon programme.
19 August 2014
The BBC2 programme entitled “Horizon: Should I eat meat?” shown on Monday 18 August 2014, has sparked quite a debate on social media and in the press – and has evoked comments from people with a variety of viewpoints.
Here at the Vegetarian Society we welcome that the programme has brought to the fore issues around meat and health.
We can understand the constraints of making a one-hour TV programme, however, it is important to ensure any research findings are represented accurately. This is why we have highlighted to the BBC that some information used in the programme has been presented in a misleading way.
Based on the conclusions of the 2013 “Meat consumption and mortality” study from the EPIC research group, the programme claimed: “Eating small amounts of red meat seem to be better for you than being a vegetarian”. The issue lies in the fact that this is not the final conclusion of the paper.
In the study, vegetarians were not studied as a specific group, they were included with people who ate low amounts of meat – which is likely to have contained a higher proportion of less health-conscious people. This caveat is acknowledged by the research paper, but ignored by the BBC2 programme.
Evidence shows it is inaccurate to state that eating meat is healthier than a balanced vegetarian diet. All the body’s nutritional needs can be met without eating meat.
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