From Green Right Now Reports

One of the largest studies to ever examine the health effects of red meat consumption has found that it significantly increases the risk of dying prematurely for both men and women.


The study, which followed 121,342 men and women for 28 years, found that higher consumption of both unprocessed red meat and processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, ham) was associated with an elevated risk death, mainly from cardio-vascular disease (CVD) and cancer.

A daily serving of processed meat increased death risk by nearly 20 percent, while a daily serving of unprocessed red meat correlated to a 13 percent increase in the risk of early death.

The researchers calculated that 9 percent of the deaths among men and 8 percent of the women’s deaths in the study group could have been prevented by the end of the follow-up period if they had consumed less than half a serving per day of red meat, or just 42 grams.

The study’s authors, a team from the Harvard School of Public Health, estimated that substituting just 1 serving per day of other foods such as fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy or whole grains in place of red meat would have lowered mortality risk by 7 to 19 percent.

The researchers also believe that 9.3 percent of the deaths in men and 7.6 percent of the women’s deaths could have been prevented by the end of the follow-up period if they had consumed less than .5 servings per day or less than 42 grams of red meat per day. (That’s a tiny portion, less than 2 oz. per day. Effectively, their recommendation would mean skipping red meat many, if not most days.)

Red Meat Consumption and Mortality was published today in the online version of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Other studies have found links between processed meat consumption and an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and cancers, particularly colorectal and pancreatic.

Processed meats also have been associated with increased risks of bladder, stomach and esophageal cancer.

The study did not distinguish between high-fat or lean red meat, nor did it account for differences between grass-fed meat and factory farmed beef and pork (though with grass-fed meats a small portion of the market, the study subjects most likely ate beef and pork from factory farmed, grain-fed animals).

Americans seem to already be getting the message that protein doesn’t have to come from a burger or a sausage. Meat consumption overall is in decline in the US.