Mounting evidence continues to suggest that eating too much red meat – such as bacon and hot dogs – is linked with health problems.
A new study finds that changes in your red-meat-eating habits can be tied to your risk of early death. An increase in red meat consumption of at least half a serving per day was linked with a 10% higher risk of early death in the study, published in the medical journal BMJ on Wednesday.
Replacing red meat with other protein sources may help you live longer, the study found.
“The data suggest that replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as poultry, fish, nuts, legumes and whole grains and even vegetables, can reduce the risk of premature death,” said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was senior author of the study.
“What we found is that increasing the consumption of red meat is associated with higher mortality risk, and the risk is particularly high for people who increased their consumption of processed red meat,” he said.
‘This is where nutrition research gets exciting’
The study involved data on the eating habits and mortality risk of 53,553 women and 27,916 men in the United States between 1986 and 2010.
The data, which came from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, tracked how much red meat and other foods each adult ate daily every four years using self-reported questionnaires, and then calculated change in eating habits over time.
Deaths from any cause in the data were confirmed using state records and the national death index, among other sources.