New research from the Harvard School of Public Health in a study published this week suggests that moderate consumption of red meat — as little as just one serving a day— poses more of a serious health risk than first thought. Red meat has been linked to chronic diseases in the past, but this study on more than 120,000 men and women conducted over a two-decade span is by far the largest and longest research study done on this subject and has compelling results for those that like to eat red meat every day.
The researchers concluded that one daily serving of unprocessed red meat, about the size of a deck of cards, resulted in a 13 percent increased risk of death overall, 16 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death and a 10 percent greater risk of cancer death. The results were even worse for those who love bacon (pretty much every non-vegetarian alive!) because the study showed that just one daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hotdog or two slices of bacon, was associated with a 20% increased risk of death.
It’s thought that the saturated fat in red meat—and the sodium in processed meats—is partially responsible for the shorter lifespans of red meat-eaters. Sodium is known to increase blood pressure, which is a risk for cardiovascular disease. As well certain carcinogens form during the cooking process — all of which have long been linked to an elevated risk for chronic diseases in other health studies.
The study did show that small changes in eating habits could make a big difference in our health. Replacing one serving of red meat with one serving of a healthier protein like fish, or poultry or beans all lowered mortality of those in the study. When it comes to death – an estimated 9.3 per cent of men and 7.6 per cent of women could have lived longer by just consuming 0.5 servings less red meat a day. That means simply changing up meals a few times a week. Making veggie lasagna, or having a tuna sandwich instead of processed lunchmeat one can easily reduce your red meat consumption.
If you love red meat, try only having it a couple of times a week, keep it to leaner cuts that are well trimmed and make your portions smaller and you’ll make a real difference in your health over the long term.
At Canada Drugs, Canadian pharmacy we know that with summer just around the corner that it’s hard to imagine of a world without BBQ’ed burgers and it’s still okay to enjoy them, just maybe leave the bacon off the burger, and after indulging in a big burger or a juicy steak, try to have some fish or humus and veggies for lunch the next day.