March 15th, 2012 by Webmaster
A major new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) concluded that eating just a small, three-ounce serving of red meat per day increases risk of death by 13%, and eating processed meat daily increases mortality rate by 20%. In other words, you are 20% more likely to die if you eat just two pieces of bacon or some deli slices of salami every day. Specific causes of death corresponding with the increased risk from meat were cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The Harvard researchers examined data from 110,000 people over a 20 year period. Some of the participants were studied for 28 years, with diets assessed through questionnaires every four years.
Meat has long been associated with increased risk of cancer and heart disease, but this comprehensive study goes further to link actual deaths to the consumption of certain meats. The study took into account chronic disease risk factors such as body mass index, exercise levels, age and family history.
“Our study adds more evidence to the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers in other studies,” said lead author An Pan, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.
The study also found that replacing one serving of red meat with one serving of healthy protein sources lowered mortality risk by 19% for nuts, 14% for whole grains and 10% for legumes.
This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death, said Hu. 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 and mortality.