A team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston have studied more than 120,000 people over 30 years to find that ‘red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, CVD [Cardiovascular disease], and cancer mortality.’ While many papers link red meat consumption to a wide range of diseases, this is the first one that suggests a high risk of dying.
During the course of the study, almost 24,000 people died. Researchers found that between 7.6% and 9.3% of the deaths could have been avoided would the subjects have eaten less red meat. They determined that eating red meat on a daily basis increased the chances of dying of cancer (10%) and from heart disease (16%), being the risk higher in the case of processed red meat like sausages and bacon.
‘This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death,’ said Frank Hu, co-author of the study. ‘On the other hand, choosing more healthful sources of protein in place of red meat can confer significant health benefits by reducing chronic disease morbidity (illness) and mortality.’
The alternatives to red meat include fish, poultry, legumes and nuts, which can reduce mortality risk between 7% and 19%, according to the scientists. The Meat Advisory Panel, however, challenged the findings, stating that red meat should be included in a balanced diet, as it provides iron, zinc, selenium and vitamins.
Source: Daily Mail
Pan, A., Sun, Q., Bernstein, A., Schulze, M., Manson, J., Stampfer, M., Willett, W., & Hu, F. (2012). Red Meat Consumption and Mortality: Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies Archives of Internal Medicine DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2287