Eating Meat Kills People. So Why Do We Keep Eating It?

Editor’s Note: This post is a Care2 favorite, brought back by popular demand. It was originally published on April 23, 2013. Enjoy!

What’s the news in nutrition these days?

It’s that red meat can kill you, and processed meat can kill you.

We knew that already, you say?

Sure, but it turns out they can kill you even faster than we thought.

According to Dr. Frank Hu, co-author of a new Harvard study on the topic, what is new “is the magnitude of risk associated with very moderate red meat consumption.” Predictably, the magnitude is greater. And the magnitude for processed meat is even greater than that.

The Harvard study concluded that one serving of red meat a day increases the risk of early death by 13 percent. The same single daily serving of processed meat (like bacon or hot dog) increases that risk by 20 percent. And “one serving” means that little deck-of-cards sized lump that doesn’t satisfy anyone over the age of 10.

Hu acknowledged that “it’s not really surprising because red meat consumption has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. What is surprising is the magnitude of risk associated with very moderate red meat consumption.”

The study, published on March 12th in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, followedover 120,000 U.S. health professionals for 28 years. Every four years the subjects completed food questionnaires.

The researchers had to tease out the health effects of red meat from all the other bad habits beef-eaters tended to have, like smoking, drinking and physical inactivity. Even when they accounted for all the other terrible things research subjects were doing to their bodies, the strong association between red meat and death still stood out.

Eating more healthful protein sources in place of red meat has a significant positive effect. Eating nuts instead of red meat decreased a person’s mortality risk by 19 percent.

Even eating higher-quality beef can help, says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. He recommended eating “a vegetarian dinner once or twice a week. And when you eat red meat, switch to leaner cuts and grass-fed cattle,”because when you eat an animal you are also eating whatever the animal ate.

Hu summarized, “I think the public health message is pretty straightforward. We should switch from a red meat-based diet to a plant-based diet with healthier protein choices.”

We should switch to a plant-based diet? Huh. That isn’t news either.

 

Related Stories:

Vegan Eats Steak, Shows Why Going Meatless is Good For You

4 More Reasons Not To Eat Meat

Western-Style Diet: A Recipe for Dying Before Your Time

 

Photo credit: Digital Vision

2286 comments

Gerald L
Gerald Labout a month ago

Cbc Radio had a 3 Part Series the Heart of the Matter. The conclusion was as many people die of low cholesterol as high cholesterol. One Dr was remorseful for the side effects his patients suffered from taking Statin Drugs. There are lots of YouTube Videos.



The Great Cholesterol Deception--The Story Behind the Statins ...

â–º 29:54
www.dailymotion.com/video/x33pqjg
30 Aug 2015 - 30 min
The Great Cholesterol Deception--The Story Behind the Statins.

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Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Habout a month ago

Well, in Belgium we have ONE BIG ADVANTAGE : the use of antibiotics and growth hormones for raising cattle for meat consumption or milk production : forbidden by law for decades already.

An Agent of the Belgian Food Administration has even been murdered by the HORMONE MAFFIA, about 20 years ago, because he was "too" correct in applying the law. Meaning that he did not accept any money from the big farming companies when he found even a small percentage of hormones or antibiotics in the blood and meat of the animals... These factory farmers had either to pay tremendous fines AND destroy all the animals in their farm at the time of the control, or simply stop their business due to bankruptcy.... U.S.A. should take an example ...

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Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Habout a month ago

I have checked various articles, even some published by the WHO. Eating (red) meat is killing (??) us when we eat too much of it - which is the case- and when we also eat processed meat. This includes sausages, burgers, etc.. A maximum of 400 grams of red meat per week is acceptable, and does not cause any additional risk for cancer or heart diseases (because of high cholesterol). The situation gets worse when, in addition, you also eat a considerable amount of processed meat, because in the latter, a lot of animal fat is processed.

As I have said already 100 times or so, restrict your meat consumption to 100 grams per day,i.e. chicken, turkey, etc.. included... and additionally eat fish (fat fish like sardines, mackerels, tuna, etc.. because these contain the GOOD cholesterol) I hate that it is ALWAYS the meat that is always to be blamed... As far as your cholesterol is concerned, do you know how many (bad) cholesterol eggs, fat cheese or yoghurt contain ?? But nobody is talking about NOT eating dairy products.

I think that Care2 has links with vegan or vegetarian organizations and therefore read too much about eating meat, and meat products . It would be nice if they would consider other food as well !! I continue eating my very moderate portions of meat of max 100 grams per day, all in, and have some fish or crustaceans as well.

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H M
H M1 months ago

How long can authors bump up an article? It's only going to attract spam.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

You can probably eat less meat and enjoy your meals.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

People can't eat grass and therefore they eat the animals which can. That is why people eat meat. In many countries there is no or little good arable land.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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