A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health focuses on eating unprocessed red meat like hamburger, roast beef, lamb and pork as well as processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, bologna and sausage. The results of the study show that having one serving per day of unprocessed meat can increase your risk for death by cardiovascular disease by as much as 18 percent. Taking in one serving of processed meat per day can increase that risk by as much as 21 percent. There have been numerous studies conducted previously that have linked high consumption of red meat and processed meats to various cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and early death. “This new study provides further compelling evidence that high amounts of red meat may boost the risk of premature death,” said An Pan, lead author of the study.
It is important to also note that this particular study focuses on association, and the results don’t specifically mean causation. Data was collected on the health and deaths of 37,698 men and 83,644 women. Throughout the study, those that were being analyzed filled out questionnaires on their diet every four years. Over two decades during the follow-up period, 5,910 participants died from heart disease while 9,464 died from cancer. This study does show some direct association between eating high amounts of red meat and unprocessed meat on your health. When preparing your food, moderation is the key.
Even cutting down your consumption to half a serving per day or two to three servings per week can make a significant difference in your risk factors for premature death. Limiting your red meat consumption to a couple of times per week while eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish and poultry can provide a healthier outcome as well as add some variety to your diet. You don’t have to give up red meat completely, but reducing your intake can be a great way to manage a healthy lifestyle.