March 24, 2019
Health News

Red Meat and Higher Mortality

by Berkeley Wellness  

People who eat the most beef and other red meat have a 26 percent higher mortality rate than those who seldom eat it, according to a study in the journal BMJ, which followed more than half a million people for an average of 16 years. The increased risk was seen in all specific causes of death, including cancer and cardiovascular, respiratory, kidney, and liver diseases.

The researchers controlled for health and weight at baseline, along with demographic, lifestyle, and other dietary factors. Analysis of individual nutritional variables singled out the iron in red meat along with the nitrite/nitrate preservatives in processed meats as likely culprits; these compounds may cause damage in part by promoting oxidative stress and inflammation, the researchers suggested. In contrast, fish and unprocessed poultry were linked to reduced mortality rates.

This was an observational study and thus could find only associations, and it used just a one-time dietary questionnaire (about usual food intake during the prior year),but its findings are in line with those of most other research on meat.

Also see More Reason to Avoid Processed Meat.