Harvard Study On Effects Of Red Meat Consumption

Harvard Study On Effects Of Red Meat Consumption

Thu 15 Mar 2012

Story by The Food Revolution Team

A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, has reported that the risk of dying at an early age rises with red-meat consumption.

While it has long been recognised that consumption of too much red meat, which is high in saturated fats and heme iron, needs to be avoided in order to maintain health, this is the longest study to estimate the relation of red meat with mortality. According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet high in red meat has been linked to high risk of premature death and increased risk of death from cancer and heart problems more than previously thought.

"This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death," said Frank Hu, senior author of the study, in a Harvard School of Public Health press release.

The study, which uses data from two long running studies of health professionals, tracking the diets of more than 121,000 middle aged men and women for up to 28 years, found that those who ate an additional serving of unprocessed red meat each day had on average a 13% higher risk of dying than those who did not eat red meat as frequently. Additionally, the study reports that if the red meat was processed (such as hot dogs, bacon, salami…) that risk rose to 20%.

Researchers also estimated that substituting one daily serving of red meat with fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, whole grains, or low-fat dairy products could reduce the risk of dying prematurely by 7-19%.

Outcomes of the study also suggest that if everyone in the study had reduced their average red-meat intake to less than half a serving per day, 9% of deaths among men and 8% of deaths among women in the study could have been prevented at the end of the follow-up.

Advice researchers are giving on the back of these study outcomes are to choose a plant based diet, to reduce the red meat consumption to less than two to three servings per week, and to avoid processed foods.

Read more about this study in the Harvard School of Public Health press release here and let us know your thoughts by posting on our Food Revolution Community Page.

The Food Revolution Team

Image: Taken from Harvard School of Public Health


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