Friday, March 16, 2012

Red Meat Consumption Risk

The take home is that a steady intake of red meat and red meat products even more so skews the death rate from CVD and Cancer by 20% and 10% respectively.

On the other hand, intermittent consumption changes the calculation significantly also.  The lesson is that if you have to eat these products, do so as an occasional item.  Processed meat in particular needs to be avoided.

A big part of the problem of course is the intake of animal fat particularly which is well indicated as a driver of CVD.  Thus the success of vegan diets in arresting CVD completely.    

A wise practice is simply to not have the stuff around, working on the principle that you will see it often enough in dining out to make up for any desire.  I too like to have KFC once in a while which usually means many weeks apart. 

I personally think that hamburgers are practically toxic and need to be substituted in any way possible.

On the other hand none of this tests for high quality meats and I suspect that the best solution is to make your hunger for beef or other red meats a very expensive option.

Red Meat Consumption Linked to Increased Risk of Total, Cardiovascular, and Cancer Mortality

ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2012) — A new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers has found that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality. The results also showed that substituting other healthy protein sources, such as fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes, was associated with a lower risk of mortality.

The study will be published online inArchives of Internal Medicine on March 12, 2012.

"Our study adds more evidence to the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers in other studies," said lead author An Pan, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.

The researchers, including senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, and colleagues, prospectively observed 37,698 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for up to 22 years and 83,644 women in the Nurses' Health Study for up to 28 years who were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer at baseline. Diets were assessed through questionnaires every four years.

A combined 23,926 deaths were documented in the two studies, of which 5,910 were from CVD and 9,464 from cancer. Regular consumption of red meat, particularly processed red meat, was associated with increased mortality risk. One daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13% increased risk of mortality, and one daily serving of processed red meat (one hot dog or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 20% increased risk.

Among specific causes, the corresponding increases in risk were 18% and 21% for cardiovascular mortality, and 10% and 16% for cancer mortality. These analyses took into account chronic disease risk factors such as age, body mass index, physical activity, family history of heart disease, or major cancers.

Red meat, especially processed meat, contains ingredients that have been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These include heme iron, saturated fat, sodium, nitrites, and certain carcinogens that are formed during cooking.

Replacing one serving of total red meat with one serving of a healthy protein source was associated with a lower mortality risk: 7% for fish, 14% for poultry, 19% for nuts, 10% for legumes, 10% for low-fat dairy products, and 14% for whole grains. The researchers estimated that 9.3% of deaths in men and 7.6% in women could have been prevented at the end of the follow-up if all the participants had consumed less than 0.5 servings per day of red meat.

"This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death," said Hu. "On the other hand, choosing more healthful sources of protein in place of red meat can confer significant health benefits by reducing chronic disease morbidity and mortality."

Support for the study was provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

Other HSPH authors include Qi Sun, Adam Bernstein, JoAnn Manson, Meir Stampfer, and Walter Willett.

1 comment:

Jeniffer said...

I am a huge advocate for more vegetables in the diet. I have eaten one salad a day for almost a year now and am constantly snacking on grapes (I’m an addict). You won’t see me eat a candy bar. I suck down more water than is recommended daily. I will only ever eat ground beef on rare occasion and typically only at barbecues or in late night del taco munch-runs. I’m a health conscious eater, but I’m by no means a health nut or dieter. I just eat what my body craves and, after treating it right for so long, I know when I need to indulge in a meat chow-down.