Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have suggested that recent studies have linked the risk of an early death to consumption of red meat. Their study is somewhat alarming as it concludes that even one serving a day of red meat can have an adverse effect on human health.
The study tracked 37,000 men and 83,000 women and covered a period of almost three decades. Participants in the study provided Harvard with detailed information about their day-to-day lifestyle and diet choices.
During the study period, 23,926 deaths occurred with cardiovascular disease or cancer being the predominant cause. None of the participants had either disease at the beginning of the test, a sign that Harvard points to as a link between the consumption of processed red meat and premature death amongst a subset of the test participants.
“This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death,” Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, said in a news release this week.
Red meat and processed meat has been increasingly linked to poor health and increased risk of cancer and heart disease over the last few years. Part of the issue with processed meat such as sausage is the high amounts of sodium and nitrates that are used to season and preserve the meat.
Those who eat red meat regularly are encouraged to find other sources of protein, such as fish, poultry or nuts, to balance out their diets and decrease their exposure to the harmful effects that red meat can have on their health.
Foodbeat’s Take: We are big believers in moderation. It is perfectly fine to enjoy a steak from time to time, but stories like this really drive home the importance of being discretionary with the types of food you are putting on your plate. I really think that the big issue here lies in processed meat and is something people should really start to think about — hot dogs, sausages, bacon and other processed meat contain such high amounts of unnatural ingredients that it should come as no surprise that human health would be impacted by regular consumption.