Reason #1: Excessive consumption of red meat, especially in processed forms such as hot dogs and bacon, has been linked to a higher risk of total, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, according to a just-published study in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers observed 37,698 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for up to 22 years and 83,644 women in the Nurses’ Health Study for up to 28 years. Participants were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline and their diets were assessed via questionnaires every four years.
The two studies found a combined 23,926 deaths, of which 5,910 were from cardiovascular disease and 9,464 from cancer. As noted in Science Daily, a single daily serving of unprocessed red meat (which is about “the size of a deck of cards”) was connected to a 13% increased risk of mortality, while a single daily serving of processed red meat (a hot dog or two slices of bacon) was linked to a 20% increased risk.
Replacing one serving of total red meat with a serving of a healthy protein source (fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, even vegetables) was associated with a lower mortality risk. Indeed, the researchers “estimated that 9.3% of deaths in men and 7.6% in women could have been prevented at the end of the follow-up” if all who participated had simply eaten less than 0.5 servings per day of red meat.
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