Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Red Meat Death Sentence

I hate to break it you all, but there is another study out on the consequences of eating red meat. This time, it can really impact you, as consuming red meat is now linked to shaving years of your life (Red Meat Consumption Linked to Increased Risk of Total, Cardiovascular, and Cancer Mortality).  As shellshocked as you may be at this news, this isn't the first time red meat has been found unhealthy. Hot dogs have been notoriously pegged as bad for heart disease and cholesterol.  So put down that salami and pepperoni sandwich and consider this study from Harvard School of Public Health.

Researchers followed 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were free from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and cancer at the the start of the study over a period a certain period of years (22 years for men and 28 years for women). The diets of the participants were assessed every 4 years through a survey. The study took into account disease risk factors, such as age, family disease history, body mass index, and physical activity. 
Here is a quick run through of the results:

  • 23,926 deaths were documented in the studies ( 5,910 from CVD and 9,464 from cancer).
  • Regular consumption of one  daily serving of red meat increased mortality risk by 13%
  • Regular consumption of one daily serving of processed red meat (hot dogs, bacon) increased morality risk by 20%
  • CVD disease mortality risk increased by 18 and 21% (for unprocessed and processed meat respectively)
  • Cancer mortality risk increased by 10 and 16% (for unprocessed and processed meat respectively)
  • Here is the scary one: 9.3% of deaths in men and 7.6% in women could have been prevented if all the participants had consumed less than 0.5 servings per day of red meat.

Why such a high risk factor? Red meat, especially processed meat, contains ingredients that increase the possibility of contracting CVD and developing cancer. These include saturated fat, nitrates (for all you hot dog and bacon lovers out there), and sodium, not to mention the carcinogenic compounds formed during cooking processes.

So the secret to a longer life? Cut down the red meat consumption! Instead substitute healthier sources of protein, such as poultry, fish, legumes, and grains. So the next time you order that cold cut sandwich at Subway, think that you may just be eating the years of your life away....

Original Paper:
An Pan, Qi Sun, Adam M. Bernstein, Matthias B. Schulze, JoAnn E. Manson, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett, Frank B. Hu. Red Meat Consumption and Mortality.Archives of Internal Medicine, March 12, 2012

1 comment:

  1. This is why I don't eat much red meat anymore, nor does my dad.