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Meat Eaters Die Early? Why Less Meat Is Good For Your Diet

Jun 01, 2016 10:19 AM EDT
Steak in a restaurant
(Photo : Flickr/Creative Commons/Benjamin Horn)

Science brings bad news to meat lovers: A recent study revealed that higher meat consumption may lead to a higher mortality rate.

Experts from the Mayo Clinic Arizona discovered in a study titled "Is Meat Killing Us?" that incorporating meat in your daily diet can shorten your life by four years.

This meta-review included six studies with data from more than a million people and involved analysis of cohort studies in the United States, Europe and China.

The primary care physicians looked at both processed meat, such as bacon, sausage and hotdogs, and unprocessed red meat, such as unsalted and uncured beef, lamb and pork.

The study concluded that all-cause mortality is higher for increased daily consumption of red meat, especially processed meat.

Aside from association of meat and mortality, the meta-review also found that long-term vegetarians are likely to have 3.6-year increase in life expectancy.

Some meat, according to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, contains carcinogenic compounds such as heterocyclic amines formed during the processing or cooking. The high fat content of meat also increases hormone production, thereby raising the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.

In particular, red meat is associated with cardiovascular diseases. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) revealed that a daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with an 18 percent cardiovascular mortality, and a daily serving of processed red meat (one hot dog or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 21 percent cardiovascular mortality.

"This data reinforces what we have known for so long--your diet has great potential to harm or heal," Brookshield Laurent, DO, assistant professor of family medicine and clinical sciences at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine told Science Daily.

"This clinical-based evidence can assist physicians in counseling patients about the important role diet plays, leading to improved preventive care, a key consideration in the osteopathic philosophy of medicine," he added.

The study is published in The Journal of the American Ostepophatic Association.

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