Red meat increases death, cancer and heart risk, says study

 
Meat Experts advise to choose leaner cuts of red meat

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A diet high in red meat can shorten life expectancy, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.

The study of more than 120,000 people suggested red meat increased the risk of death from cancer and heart problems.

Substituting red meat with fish, chicken or nuts lowered the risks, the authors said.

The British Heart Foundation said red meat could still be eaten as part of a balanced diet.

The researchers analysed data from 37,698 men between 1986 and 2008 and 83,644 women between 1980 and 2008.

They said that during the study period, adding an extra portion of unprocessed red meat to someone's daily diet would increase the risk of death by 13%, of fatal cardiovascular disease by 18% and of cancer mortality by 10%. The figures for processed meat were higher, 20% for overall mortality, 21% for death from heart problems and 16% for cancer mortality.

The study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, said: "We found that a higher intake of red meat was associated with a significantly elevated risk of total, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality.

Dr Rosemary Leonard says the risks associated with eating a lot of red meat are "very clear"

"This association was observed for unprocessed and processed red meat with a relatively greater risk for processed red meat."

The researchers suggested that saturated fat from red meat may be behind the increased heart risk and the sodium used in processed meats may "increase cardiovascular disease risk through its effect on blood pressure".

Victoria Taylor, a dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Red meat can still be eaten as part of a balanced diet, but go for the leaner cuts and use healthier cooking methods such as grilling.

She suggested adding more variation to your diet with "other protein sources such as fish, poultry, beans or lentils."

 

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  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 329.

    Sorry these are more meaningless statistics.

    How many people die an early death? You need to know this to work out how big a deal 13% more liklihood is. I guess that if you drive a car between 17 and 21 your chances of an earlier death are somewhat greater than 13%! Do that, eat red meat, and drink alcohol, you'll be lucky to make your 25th b'day.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 328.

    This is today's prediction. Tomorrow it will be different and the following day different again. I get really fed up with these doom and gloom merchants. Sack the lot of them and leave us in peace to enjoy what we enjoy in life.

  • rate this
    -13

    Comment number 327.

    meat is disgusting

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 326.

    Its funny how we never see what the health hazards of being a pensioner on State Pension are compared to an Estate Agents private pension. Or what the life outcomes of graduates is compared to non graduates. One suspects that the hazards of red meat are miniscule compared to your wealth and education. Prove me wrong or shut the flip up.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 325.

    hmmm isnt it interesting that this warning comes to humans who survived for thousands of years as hunter gatherers who ate not just red meat, but animal fat as a staple in their diet! ... something tells me it could be something else which has negative side effects ...

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 324.

    WARNING: LIFE IS DANGEROUS.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 323.

    #295.
    If meat (red or white) is so bad for us, how come we have survived eating it for over 100,000 years?! Or is it bad for us because of the way it is processed these days?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 322.

    Why live your whole life avoiding luxuries only to extend your life from say 80 to 85 when you are too old to get up and do anything anyway. You will just spend longer in the rest home arm chair. Enjoy the now, but know the facts.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 321.

    There is no statistic on earth that could make me eat less bacon. Who wants to live to a really old age and be miserable anyway? If I pop my clogs 10 years earlier, I'll be less of a drain on the NHS.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 320.

    Instead of spending every penny researching how to take away the few pleasures anyone who isn't a banker has left to them, how about directing research at counteracting any ill-effects of the things that make like bearable? Or perhaps the scientific community just likes the moral high ground too much.?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 319.

    How can red meat increase death risk?

    I'm already 100% likely to die, so I might as well enjoy a decent steak on the way...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 318.

    291. Luther_Wesley-Baxter

    The problem with seventh day adventists, as with every other group and person who "believes" that they are right, is that they have a very limited capacity to understand any viewpoint which challenges their belief.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 317.

    On the other hand, we do currently have two generations of retired people, probably for the first time in history, the elder of which is costing the NHS and Social Srvices a bomb. So maybe we need to eat far more red meat, drink more alcohol, smoke more and exercise less, to restore the status quo?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 316.

    Percentage increases mortality rates are meaningless. For example, suppose your chance of dying was 1 in a million if you were vegetarian but 2 in a million if you ate red meat. Either way it's pretty low odds. Now imagine a veggie has a 1 in 10 chance of dying and the meat eater 2 in 10. The meat eater is still twice as likely to die, so same % increase, but a 1 in 10 chance is better than 1 in 5

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 315.

    An absolutely useless article and piece of "research" designed to scaremonger, but with no substance whatsoever. There is no baseline against which these % increases are based. And it starts by saying "a diet high in meat"...any diet that is too high in one thing and not another is bad for you.
    Red meat can't be too bad for us given that we've survived eating it for over 100,000 years!

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 314.

    Typical.. Do your homework...

    Quote from the actual report on the cohort:
    "Men and women [in the study] with higher intake of red meat were less likely to be physically active and were more likely to be current smokers, to drink alcohol, and to have a higher body mass index "

    But it was the red meat that caused the cancer and heart disease!!!!?????
    Where do you get your reporters from?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 313.

    Er...didn't they say this years ago?

    The problem with today's health advisers is that they change their minds every thirty seconds. I have always eaten five portions of fruit and veg a day. Now I'm told it doesn't do any good.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 312.

    I think this HYS shows that most people can't interpret research. But maybe research methods are not taught in schools and probably never have been.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 311.

    'Red meat consumption and mortality: results from two cohort studies. Archives of Internal Medicine. Published online March 12, 2012; doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2287.'

    Sound methodology, but source data from 2 studies that use questionnaires completed by health professionals. Don't represent wider population. Also lifestyle questionnaires only as reliable as the people filling them in.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 310.

    Conducting good studies such as this (it was a worthwhile study, imo) and getting the stats is useless in practical terms unless the greater population actually takes them seriously and make changes to their diet and lifestyle. But not many people like to worry about their health 24/7. Also there's a sense of paternalism around the subject of diet and lifestyle that we don't like. It's difficult.

 

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