Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Red meat linked with death
A study published in March’s Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the meat intake of half a million Americans aged 50-71 for 10 years.
After controlling for age, race, BMI, education, smoking history, alcohol intake, caloric intake, fruit and vegetable intake, vitamin intake, hormone therapy and physical activity, researchers found that the more red meat and processed meat people ate, the higher the mortality risk- in fact, they had a 20-40% increased risk of death. They also had a higher risk of heart disease and cancer.
The participants that ate the most meat were more likely to be of white (non-Hispanic) ethnicity, married, smokers, have a higher BMI, higher caloric, fat and saturated fat intake, have lower education and physical activity levels and lower intakes of fibre, fruits and veggies. Remember, that all these factors were controlled for though.
So, how much meat were they eating? The subjects that are the most meat were eating about 160g red meat or processed meat per day- the equivalent of about a 5 oz steak a day. The ones getting the least meat were eating just under 1 oz a day.
This study adds to what we’ve already known: red meat and processed meat are major sources of saturated fat which have been associated with high blood cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. Meat has also been shown to be a source of cancer-causing agents which are formed during high-temperature cooking. Processed meats also contain carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Since it's pretty clear that eating a diet rich in red meat and processed meat puts your health at risk, try to limit your intake- there are so many delicious vegetarians options available now... try them! Also replace your red meat with beans and lentil-based meals, fish and/or white meat as often as possible.