Study: Eating Lots of Red Meat Could Lead to an Earlier Grave


People who eat more plant-based proteins lower risk of dying younger, study suggests

If you turn to red meat as your main source of protein, you could be shortening your life, a new study suggests.

People who get more of their protein from plant sources have an overall lower risk of dying early than those who consume a lot of animal protein, the researchers said.

However, not all animal proteins carry the same level of risk, said lead researcher Dr. Mingyang Song. He is a nutrition research fellow with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

And many of the red meat eaters also had unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking, the researchers said.

“We found protein from red meat, particularly processed red meat, is strongly associated with mortality,” he said. “The protein from fish or chicken is not really associated with mortality.”

The study findings make a case for including more plant protein in your daily diet:

  • For every 3 percent increase in plant protein in their daily diet, participants experienced a 10 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a 12 percent lower risk of heart-related death, the investigators found.
  • Participants experienced a 2 percent increased risk of death from all causes and an 8 percent increased risk of heart-related death for every 10 percent increase of animal protein in their total daily calories.
  • Swapping 3 percent of calories from animal protein with plant protein lowered overall risk of premature death, based on the type of animal protein being substituted.
  • Risk of early death dropped 34 percent if people ate less processed red meat, 12 percent for less unprocessed red meat, and 19 percent for fewer eggs, the findings showed. Processed red meats include items like bacon, sausage and deli meats, Song said.

Registered dietitian and health fitness instructor Jim White said the findings aren’t surprising.

Processed meats contain loads of sodium and nitrates, which have been linked to heart disease and cancer. Fatty cuts of meat, particularly red meat, also contain loads of saturated fat, cholesterol and extra calories, said White, a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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SOURCE: HealthDay News
Dennis Thompson