Red Meat Will Seriously Kill You, New Study Shows

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

A study of more than 110,00 adults, conducted from 1980 to 2008, concludes that eating red meat of any type and in any amount will significantly increase risk of premature death.

"Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk," said An Pan, postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study. The results were published online yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Some eye-openers: Adding just one three-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat to one's daily diet was linked to a 13 percent increased chance of death during the course of the study. Eating processed red meats, such as a hot dog or two slices of foodie-favorite bacon, upped the risk of death during the study by 20 percent. Overall, as meat consumption increased among the 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were tracked, so did mortality risk.

As a Los Angeles Times story about the study points out, red meat consumption is associated with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Scientists speculate that what makes the meat so potentially deadly are the iron and saturated fats, the nitrates used for preservation, and the chemicals that get created when the meat is exposed to high-temperature cooking.

The researchers also found that substituting other foods for red meat seemed to reduce mortality risk for those who participated in the study. Eating one serving of nuts rather than beef or pork lowered the risk of dying during the study by 19 percent; choosing poultry or whole grains instead was linked to a 14 percent reduction in mortality; low-fat dairy or legumes led to 10 percent less, and fish to 7 percent.

Pan's bottom line: No amount of red meat is good for you, but "If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week. That would have a huge impact on public health."

Dr. Dean Ornish, president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, weighs in on the subject in an invited commentary on the study's findings. (His bottom line: "In short, don't have a cow!")

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.