According to a new study, increasing the amount of red meat especially processed red meat in the diet can increased risk of death, while swapping the red meat for plant-based alternatives may help lower risk the risk.
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Led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the BMJ, the new study looked at data gathered from 53,553 US registered female nurses, aged 30 to 55, and 27,916 US male health professionals, aged 40 to 75, who were all free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the start of the study.
Participants were supposed to complete a questionnaire (FFQ) every four years, reporting on how often, they had eaten various foods in the past year.
These people were then divided into five categories based on their reported red meat intake.
After considering the age and the other influencing factors, the researchers found that increased consumption of red meat for the eight-year period was associated with a higher risk of death in the following eight years in both men and women.
Especially, increasing red meat intake by 3.5 servings a week or more then that for the eight years was associated with a 10 % higher risk of death in the next eight years and increasing unprocessed red meat was linked with a 9 % higher risk, while upping processed red meat intake, like bacon, hot dogs, sausages and salami, was linked with a 13 percent higher risk.
Well, the decreased intake of red meat, while increasing the intake of healthy protein sources, like poultry without eggs, skin, and fish, and whole grains appears to decrease the risk of death over time. Exchanging one serving of red meat daily for a serving of fish over the eight years was associated with a 17 % lower risk of death in the subsequent eight years.
As an above study, the researchers find out that they cannot find a cause and effect relationship, and there were some limitations to the study, like studying mainly white registered health professionals rather than a more diverse group of persons.
However, the authors also add that the study’s strengths include looking at a large number of people over a long follow-up period, and note that the findings provide “a practical message to the general public of how dynamic changes in red meat consumption is associated with health.”
They conclude it by saying: “A change in protein source or eating healthy plant-based foods such as vegetables or whole grains can improve longevity,”
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