Eating red meat and processed meat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and death, new research suggests.
Eating two servings of red meat, processed meat or poultry per week was associated with a 3% to 7% higher risk of cardiovascular disease, the study found.
Consuming two servings of red meat or processed meat – but not poultry or fish – per week, meanwhile, was linked to a 3% higher risk of all causes of death.
Senior study author Norrina Allen, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said: “It’s a small difference, but it’s worth trying to reduce red meat and processed meat like pepperoni, bologna and deli meats.
“Red meat consumption also is consistently linked to other health problems like cancer.”
Lead study author Victor Zhong, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell, added: “Modifying intake of these animal protein foods may be an important strategy to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death at a population level.”
The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, and pooled together a large sample from six cohorts, including 29,682 participants from the US with an average age of 53.7.
Diet data were self-reported by participants, who were asked a long list of what they ate for the previous year or month.
Researchers found there was a 3% to 7% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death for people who ate two servings of red meat and processed meat a week.
There was a 4% higher risk of cardiovascular disease for people who ate two servings per week of poultry.
But researchers say the evidence is not sufficient to make a clear recommendation about poultry intake.
They add that the relationship may be related to the method of cooking the chicken and consumption of the skin rather than the chicken meat itself.
Scientists found no association between eating fish and cardiovascular disease or mortality.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?