Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First Study to Show Red Meat Linked to Early Death

We've known that there is a link between eating red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and colorectal cancer, but a new large study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that shows the changes of dying prematurely (mortality) was 30% higher in Americans that consumed just 4 ounces of red meat a day.

The study looked at almost 6,000 predominantly white volunteers ages 50-71. They controlled for other variables such as smoking, physical activity, vitamin use, age and they found that those who ate the most red meat and processed meat were more likely to die from any reason than those who consumed less.

Red meat was considered beef, pork, bacon, cold cuts, ham, liver and processed meats such as sausage, hot dogs and lunch meat. Processed meats were rated differently than non processed red meat in the study and high intake of processed meats caused higher deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease than those who ate less nor no processed meats.

The people who ate white meat and fish were about 8% less likely to die during the study period. Poultry (chicken and turkey) contains more unsaturated fat and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids.

There are various ways red meat can be related to mortality. Cooked meat is the source of several carcinogens and the excess iron in red meat can also create oxidative damage in tissue. Meat is a major source of saturated fat which is related to C-V disease, breast and colorectal cancer. Also since we know grains, fruits and vegetables are linked to low cancer and C-V death rates, people who eat mainly meat probably eat less of those protective, healthy foods.

The take home message here is not new but this elegant study will probably bring out the big guns in the cattle and pig industry and livestock industrial farms. The take home message is eat mainly fruits, vegies, fish and poultry. Limit and reduce the red meat in your diet. Eat vegi burgers rather than hamburgers and try to never eat processed meat.


Anonymous said...

That meat looks really disgusting and after reading about the study it will change how I eat for sure.

Raymond Bouchayer said...

It would be nice to be able to change ones habit . However I was raised with meat and meat products , kidneys , brains , liver , blood sausages and a lot more .
The biggest problem with weight control is that so many people go on diet ...for a while . until they cannot stand it anymore and then go back to their old ways of eating .
All foods are good in my opinion as long as we eat what we crave , but push the "table away".
Too much food is the biggest health problem , but then , what do I know . I am not a M.D . I am not a spokesperson for some TV show , nor am I working for a drug company ....I just use common sense .
As far as meat or meat products being the biggest cause on cancer , they have a point ....greed as made that we inject our cattle with antibiotics and other products in order to fatten them up in order to get more money for them ....shame on that And I am sure that those things precipitate the outcome of disease like cancer.

Anonymous said...

Is lamb considered red meat?

Sam Hulick said...

I find it highly ironic that on the right hand side of this page, there's a link to Mark's Daily Apple, which touts the health benefits of saturated fats, meat, eggs, and plenty of fruits & vegetables.

Sorry, but this article is very old school. Not only that, but the study sounds very flawed. Why? It's fine that they controlled variables such as smoking, physical activity, and vitamin use, but you forgot some important factors such as controlling OTHER aspects of their diet! How much sugar did they eat? What about other processed foods besides meats? What about processed carbs found in breads and other grain products? What about sleep, how much sleep did they get? For all you know, these people could've been consuming other harmful food products or participating in other health-related choices that contributed to their early death. Were they on any kind of prescription pills?

I will give you this: yes, processed meats are no good. Processed anything is bad, really. But this article makes no mention of hormone-free, antibiotic-free, grass-fed meat, and how much healthier it is to consume compared to meat that's full of hormones. Let's not forget that chicken is often packed with antibiotics, and people should strive to steer clear from that as well.

Grains and sugars are the enemy, not saturated fats and cholesterol.

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The people who ate white meat and fish were about 8% less likely to die. The information provided by the author is valuable and something to keep safe.

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Annie said...

Here is further evidence supporting the findings of T. Colin Campbell in The China Study and Caldwell Esselstyne in Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, both of which present very interesting scientific studies.

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