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Red Meat Mortality

November 26, 2012

I know it must seem obvious already, but it’s hard to resist posting research that details the impact of red meat consumption on mortality. I always tell my kids that beef is killing the planet. But no one seems to care that much. What people do respond to is research which shows that beef is killing them, so here’s a study report that I’ve had sitting around since March:

Eating red meat is associated with a sharply increased risk of death from cancer and heart disease, according to a new study, and the more of it you eat, the greater the risk.

The analysis, published online Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine, used data from two studies that involved 121,342 men and women who filled out questionnaires about health and diet from 1980 through 2006. There were 23,926 deaths in the group, including 5,910 from cardiovascular disease and 9,464 from cancer.

People who ate more red meat were less physically active and more likely to smoke and had a higher body mass index, researchers found. Still, after controlling for those and other variables, they found that each daily increase of three ounces of red meat was associated with a 12 percent greater risk of dying over all, including a 16 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death and a 10 percent greater risk of cancer death.

The increased risks linked to processed meat, like bacon, were even greater: 20 percent over all, 21 percent for cardiovascular disease and 16 percent for cancer.

Of course, you can earn all about the ways in which red meat will shorten your life in the excellent documentary “Forks Over Knives.”

And you can watch CNN’s Sanjay Gupta (with an assist from Bill Clinton) make the case here.

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