Eating More Red Meat May Mean Quicker Death
- This prospective longitudinal study shows that consumption of both processed and unprocessed red meat is associated with an increased risk of premature mortality from all causes, as well as from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- Substitution of red meat with fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains was associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.
Increasing consumption of both processed and unprocessed red meat was associated with a greater risk of dying during the study period, data from two large, prospective studies showed.
Through up to 28 years of follow-up, each additional serving of red meat per day was associated with a relative 13% to 20% increased risk of all-cause mortality, with the higher risk attributed to processed meats, according to Frank Hu, MD, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues.
It was estimated that 9.3% of the deaths in men and 7.6% of the deaths in women could have been prevented by consuming less than half of a serving of red meat (42 grams) per day, roughly equivalent to about one hot dog, the researchers reported online in Archives of Internal Medicine.
However, 77.2% of men and 90.4% of women consumed more than that during the studies.
Hu and colleagues examined data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which tracked men ages 40 to 75 at baseline from 1986 to 2008, and from the Nurses' Health Study, which followed women ages 30 to 55 at baseline from 1980 to 2008.
The current analysis included 37,698 men and 83,644 women, all of whom were free from cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline.
Diet was assessed at baseline and every four years using a food frequency questionnaire. Unprocessed red meat included beef, pork, lamb, or hamburger and processed red meat included bacon, hot dogs, sausage, salami, and bologna.
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