Eating red meat makes us die earlier

Eating red meat makes us die earlier

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Changing your diet can increase life expectancy

The consumption of red meat has been associated with negative effects several times in the past. Researchers have now found that eating red meat has a massive impact on our life expectancy. Switching your diet to less red meat and more nuts, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, whole grains or vegetables can counteract this risk.

In the current study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found that consuming red meat has a significant negative impact on our life expectancy. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "BMJ".

Processed red meat is particularly harmful

The researchers found that reducing red meat consumption and increasing the choice of healthy alternative foods over time resulted in less mortality. A large number of studies have shown that a higher consumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, certain types of cancer and premature death. The current study was the first to examine how changes in red meat consumption over time can affect the risk of premature death.

Data from over 80,000 people were analyzed

For the study, the health data of 53,553 women from The Nurses' Health Study and 27,916 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study were evaluated. All participants were free from cardiovascular diseases and cancer at the start of the study.

How did the consumption of red meat affect you?

The increase in the total intake of processed meat by at least half a daily dose was associated with a 13 percent higher risk of death, the authors of the study report. However, the same amount of unprocessed meat only increased the risk of premature death by nine percent. In addition, significant correlations were found between increased consumption of red meat and increased deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. According to the researchers, the relationship between the increase in red meat consumption and the increased relative risk of premature mortality was the same for all participants, regardless of age, physical activity, nutritional quality, smoking or alcohol consumption.

Effects of changing the diet

The study results also showed that overall, a reduction in red meat consumption along with an increase in consumption of nuts, fish, skinless poultry, dairy products, eggs, whole grains and vegetables over a period of eight years with a lower risk of death in the following eight Years ago. The researchers suspect that the relationship between red meat consumption and increased risk of death is due to a combination of components that cause cardiometabolic disorders, including saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, preservatives, and carcinogenic compounds that are produced when cooking at high temperatures.

Eat less red meat for a longer life

“This long-term study provides further evidence that reducing the intake of red meat when eating other protein foods or whole grains and vegetables can reduce the risk of premature death. In order to improve both human health and ecological sustainability, it is important to choose a Mediterranean or other diet that focuses on healthy plant foods, ”study author Professor Frank Hu explains in a press release from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Association of changes in red meat consumption with total and cause specific mortality among US women and men: two prospective cohort studies

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