We’re talking about red meat and recent research that implicates increased red meat consumption with increased risk of mortality. Among more than 80,000 U.S. men and women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, increases in meat consumption over an eight-year period increased the risk of death in the subsequent eight years, even though all study participants were free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline (the start of the study).
And it didn’t take much in the way of increased consumption. Published in the British Medical Journal, the study revealed that eating at least a 1/2 serving a day of red meat beyond one’s average intake increased mortality risk by 10 percent. In terms of processed vs. unprocessed red meat, the added risk attributable to increased consumption (still a 1/2 serving extra per day) was 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
According to the researchers, “higher red meat consumption, especially processed red meat, is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, including colorectal cancer, and mortality. Consumption of processed red meat (e.g., bacon, hot dogs, and sausages) has been associated with additional health outcomes, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and hypertension.” That explains their findings, and it should also serve as a warning to us all.
Talk to your doctor for more information about the health benefits of a balanced, nutrition-rich diet that limits red meat and processed food consumption in favor of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts / seeds and lean (non-red) meats / fish.