Challenging the conventional wisdom about meat

Posted 9/24/21

One of the jobs of scientists is to challenge conventional wisdom. You don’t want to bet the ranch on something that only seems true.

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Challenging the conventional wisdom about meat


One of the jobs of scientists is to challenge conventional wisdom. You don’t want to bet the ranch on something that only seems true. Facts, empirical evidence and data are a more solid foundation for the truth needed to make decisions about the herd.

At the Florida Cattlemen’s Association convention this summer in Marco, I talked a little bit at the research and education committee about the importance of challenging conventional wisdom. For two reasons, I believe it’s one of the greatest services that the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) provides its stakeholders—both consumers and producers.

First, challenging conventional wisdom can reveal new insights about how to run a ranch and even correct practices that impede efficiency and productivity. In addition, a scientific challenge to the conventional wisdom can debunk consumers’ falsely held beliefs about what producers do.

Here are three examples of how UF/IFAS agricultural scientists are challenging public perception that passes for conventional wisdom about the cattle industry.

The conventional wisdom around how eating red meat might increase your cardiovascular disease risk has been a matter of debate. Wendy Dahl of the UF/IFAS Food Science and Human Nutrition Department didn’t accept one recently proposed explanation. She found in a study of older women that a well-balanced, high-protein diet with beef for dinner did not increase the metabolite associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. More research is needed, but her research demonstrates that if we just accept conventional wisdom, we risk missing out on deeper truths.

The conventional wisdom is that cattlemen feeding their animals too many antibiotics is causing all our beef-related anti-microbial resistance problems. Not so fast, says KC Jeong, an animal sciences professor in the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute.

Learn more about this science
Wendy Dahl:
KC Jeong:
Gbola Adesogan and Geoff Dahl:
Or Ask IFAS:

UF/IFAS, meat, cattle