Red Meat: Is it Worse Than We Thought?

By , Category : Food and Nutrition

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Red Meat: Is it Worse Than We Thought?Shield your eyes if you love a daily dose of red meat (actually, don’t; you’re the most important target for this message). A new study has identified such meat as leading to a greater risk of cancer death, cardiovascular death, and mortality in general. These startling findings show people that keeping a diet high in red meat is simply dangerous for the body.

Results of this latest health breakthrough show that substituting other healthy protein sources — like fish, poultry, nuts and legumes — was linked with a lower risk of death. Researchers say it is more evidence that eating high amounts of red meat come with significant health risks tied to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

EXCLUSIVE: Link Between Red Meat and Cancer Intensifies.

The researchers observed 37,698 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for up to 22 years and 83,644 women in the Nurses’ Health Study for up to 28 years. All had no heart disease or cancer at the beginning. Diets were assessed by questionnaires every four years.

In both studies, a combined 24,000 people died, 5,910 from coronary heart disease and 9,464 from cancer. Regularly eating red meat, particularly processed, was linked directly with risk of death. One daily serving of unprocessed red meat (the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13% increased risk of mortality. One daily serving of processed meat (e.g. a hot dog or two slices of bacon) was linked to a 20% increased risk.

There were 10% and 16% increased risks for death due to heart disease and cancer, respectively. This took into account other pertinent factors like age, weight, exercise levels, and family history of disease.

Red meat, especially processed meat, contains ingredients that have been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These include heme iron, saturated fat, sodium, nitrites, and certain carcinogens that are formed during cooking.

Replacing one serving of total red meat with one serving of a healthy protein source was associated with a lower mortality risk: seven percent for fish; 14% for poultry; 19% for nuts; 10% for legumes; 10% for low-fat dairy products; and 14% for whole grains.

The end result: 9.3% of deaths in men and 7.6% in women could have been prevented at the end of the follow-up if all the participants had consumed less than half a daily serving of red meat.

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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »