American Meat Institute (AMI) Vice President of Public Affairs Janet Riley defended the healthiness of processed meats in an appearance this week on World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer.
Riley disputed a recent Harvard School of Public Health study linking processed meats with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
“I’m a little concerned that consumers are getting another case of nutritional whiplash,” she says. “Americans are starting to tune out because one week red wine’s good for them, the next week, not so much. One week it’s oat bran, the next it’s maybe not.”
Harlan Krumholz, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine, also appeared on the segment and agreed that moderation of both processed and unprocessed meats contributes to an overall healthy diet.
“This study doesn’t suggest that people should panic if they had a processed meat for lunch or to be concerned that they have to cut it out completely,” he says.
CNN also covered the issue and included an extensive quote from the American Meat Industry Foundation (AMIF) highlighting the fact that the meat industry holds a different view than what was reported in the study. AMIF said, “Meat contains protein, amino acids and essential nutrients like iron and zinc that are the keys to good health and this is just one study from a wealth of research that has clearly demonstrated processed meat is a healthy part of a balanced diet.”