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Increase Consumption of Red Meat Linked to Early Death

Increase Consumption of Red Meat Linked to Early Death

increased red meat consumption linked to early death

The cows had it right all along with their “Eat more chikin” campaign. Last summer, a study released by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) gave us the bad news that an increased red meat consumption is linked to an early death.

The research funded by the US National Institutes for Health and the Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center included researchers from the Harvard TH Chan school of public health in the US, with one researcher from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. Researchers studied diet changes in 50,000 women and 27,000 men over sixteen years. 

Participants who increased their red meat by 3.5 servings per week experienced a 10% increased rate of death over participants who did not change their diet. Participants who exchanged one serving of red meat for a serving of another protein source like poultry, fish, nuts, dairy, eggs, whole grains, or legumes lowered their risk of death.

What does this mean for our nutrition?

If you’re interested enough in your health and nutrition to read this far, it’s time to make some practical applications. Lowering your number of servings of red meat lowers your risk for numerous health conditions such as heart disease and cancer. This article from Harvard Health suggests not exceeding two to three servings of red meat or processed meat of any kind per week. 

Your husband’s weekend steak, mama’s Sunday roast, and a hamburger at lunch aren’t the only limitations in the red meat category. Red meat includes cow, but also pig, horses, goats, and bison. White meat typically refers to poultry or fish. The study also connects processed meat such as hotdogs and deli meat to increased health problems.

We always advocate for creating a meal plan for the week. This allows you to better control what you cook and to see possible substitutions. 

Substitutions to consider

  • Ground turkey in chili or vegetable soup
  • Shredded chicken nachos or tacos
  • Tuna steak 
  • Grilled salmon
  • Turkey bacon
  • Chicken sandwhich instead of a hamburger
  • Oven-roasted chicken instead of deli meat

This study did not find that red meat caused early death, but rather it linked increased consumption of red meat to an early death. If you find yourself stopping for a burger multiple times a week, it’s time to break the red meat habit. Our nutritionists and medical providers can help you create a plan to introduce flavorful white meat and vegetables back into your diet. Make an appointment today to get your health on a better trac.

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