is the Consumption of Red Meat Linked to Cancer Mortality.

A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality and that substituting other healthy protein sources, such as fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes , was associated with a lower risk of mortality. The researchers say “Our study adds more evidence to the health risk of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers in other studies.”

Researchers prospectively followed 37,698 men from the Health Professions Follow-up Study for 22 years and 83,544 women in the Nurses’ Health Study for up to 28 years who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline. Every four years the diets of subjects were assessed.  Over the study period there were 23,926 deaths in the two groups of which 5,910 were from cardiovascular disease and 9,464 from cancer.  Regular consumption of red meat, particularly processed red meat, was associated with increased mortality risk. A daily serving of unprocessed red meat of about the size of a deck of cards was associated with a 13 percent increase risk of mortality and a daily serving of processed red meat consisting of a hot dog or two slices of bacon was associated with a 20 percent increased risk. The corresponding risk for cancer mortality was 10% and 16 percent even after adjusting for risk factors such as age, body mass index, physical activity, and family history of major cancers.

Replacing a serving of red meat with one serving of a healthy protein source was associated with a lower mortality risk as follows: 7% for fish, 14% for poultry, 19% for nuts,  10% for legumes, 10% for low-fat dairy products, and 14% for who9le grains.  Researchers estimated that 9.3 % of the deaths in men and 7.6 % of the deaths in women could have been prevented if all subjects had consumed less than 0.5 servings per day of red meat.

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