It’s Not Just Bacon: Researchers Advise Avoiding Red Meat
Grilling portobello mushrooms instead of hot dogs at cookouts could be a smart swap. Researchers have found that all-cause mortality is higher for people who eat red or processed meats on a daily basis, according to a clinical review in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA).
The key takeaway? Daily consumption of meat, particularly red or processed meat like bacon, hot dogs and ham, leads to higher risk of death due to conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“This data reinforces what we have known for so long – your diet has great potential to harm or heal,” says Brookshield Laurent, DO, an assistant professor of family medicine and clinical sciences at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury. As an osteopathic physician, Dr. Laurent is trained to consider how lifestyle and environmental factors contribute to a person’s overall health.
The review, conducted by physicians from Mayo Clinic in Arizona, analyzed six studies involving more than 1.5 million people. The researchers concluded that physicians should advise patients to limit animal products when possible and consume more plants than meat.
Details of the review:
- A 2014 study following more than 1 million people over the course of five and a half to 28 years looked at their consumption of processed meats and unprocessed red meats such as pork or lamb. The data found the steepest rise in mortality at the smallest increases of intake of total red meat.
- A 2014 meta-analysis examined associations with mortality from cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease. In that study of more than 1.5 million people, researchers found only processed meat significantly increased the risk for all-cause mortality.
- A 2003 review of more than 500,000 participants found a decreased risk of 25% to nearly 50% of all-cause mortality for very low meat intake compared with higher meat intake.