Eating more red meat is associated with an increased risk of dying from eight common diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as “all other causes” of death, according to a recent U.S. study.
Researchers examined data on almost 537,000 adults aged 50 to 71 and found the people who consumed the most red meat had 26 percent higher odds than those who ate the least of dying from a variety of causes.
But people who ate the most white meat, including poultry and fish, were 25 percent less likely to die of all causes during the study period than people who consumed the least, researchers report in The BMJ.
“Our findings confirm previous reports on the associations between red meat and premature death, and it is also large enough to show similar associations across nine different causes of death,” said lead study author Arash Etemadi of the National Cancer Institute.
“We also found that for the same total meat intake, people who reported a diet with a higher proportion of white meat had lower premature mortality rates,” Etemadi said by email.
For the study, researchers followed the health and eating habits of people from six U.S. states and two metropolitan areas over about 16 years. They analyzed survey data on total meat intake as well as consumption of processed and unprocessed red meat and white meat. Red meat included beef, lamb and pork, while white meat included chicken, turkey and fish.