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Red Meat Means Higher Risk of Death

Red Meat Means Higher Risk of Death

Photo: Uncooked red meat with a knife to cut in front of it

The researchers assessed the association between meat intake and risk of death among more than 500,000 individuals. Participants, who were between 50 and 71 years old when the study began in 1995, provided demographic information and completed a food frequency questionnaire to estimate their intake of white, red and processed meats. They were then followed for ten years.

During the follow-up period, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died. The one-fifth of men and women who ate the most red meat (a median or midpoint of 62.5 grams per 1,000 calories per day) had a higher risk for overall death, death from heart disease and death from cancer than the one-fifth of men and women who ate the least red meat (a median of 9.8 grams per 1,000 calories per day). Similar results applied for the one-fifth of men and women who ate the most versus the least amount of processed meat (a median of 22.6 grams versus 1.6 grams per 1,000 calories per day).

There are several mechanisms by which meat may be associated with death, the authors note. Cancer-causing compounds are formed during high-temperature cooking of meat. Meat also is a major source of saturated fat, which has been associated with breast and colorectal cancer. In addition, lower meat intake has been linked to a reduction in risk factors for heart disease, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“For overall mortality, eleven percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption to the level of intake in the first quintile,” the authors write.

MEDICA.de; Source: American Medical Association (AMA)

 
 
 

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