It seems we can’t eat anything these days without being told its bad for us. Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) made the preposterous claim that all smoked, cured, processed meats, as well as red meat, are bad for you.

Since WHO’s statement, experts have been coming forward to voice their doubts about the information that was used as a basis for the warning.

British nutrition author Zoe Harcombe, in an article on The Australian, said the information from which WHO drew its conclusion is “notoriously unreliable … Overall, it was disgraceful scaremongering from the WHO.”

Dr. Gordon Guyatt, a professor of medicine at Hamilton’s McMaster University told National Post that WHO may have been angling for a big headline.

“Their inferences go beyond what is appropriate,” he said.

He said the more appropriate statement on the research used by WHO would have read: “Low-quality evidence suggests that intake of these meats may cause cancer.”

Recently, a growing number of government health warnings have turned out to be bad advice based on low-quality research. We now know that government and public health activists got it wrong with fat and cholesterol in the past. Now they are going after salt, sugar and meat.

It’s no wonder people get confused when the public health community continues to issue warnings based on unsound science. Unfounded scare tactics cause more harm than good. Instead of trying to demonize one food or nutrient, dietary advice should be based on the totality of scientific evidence available to us. That way, the public will get real world dietary guidance that is also achievable.