Red Meat Can Be Unhealthy, Study Suggests
Researchers contend diets laden with steaks, burgers boost death rates; beef industry disputes claim.
MONDAY, March 12, 2012 (HealthDay News) — Eating a lot of red meat may shorten your life, while consuming more fish and poultry may extend it, a new study suggests.
Red meat is associated with a higher risk of dying from heart disease, cancer and any other cause, the researchers reported.
For many people, red meat is a primary source of protein and fat. But meat has been associated with increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers in other studies, the researchers noted.
"We should move to a more plant-based diet," said lead researcher Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "This can substantially reduce the risk of chronic disease and the risk of premature death."
For the study, Hu's team collected data on more than 37,600 men who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and more than 83,600 women in the Nurses' Health Study.
Over 28 years, almost 24,000 of the study participants died. Nearly 6,000 of the deaths were from cardiovascular disease and more than 9,000 were from cancer, the researchers found.
Hu's group calculated that for every daily serving of red meat, the risk of dying increased 12 percent. Broken down further, the researchers found the risk was 13 percent for a serving of unprocessed red meat and 20 percent for processed red meat.
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