Cutting into a thick, juicy steak; the scent of bacon cooking in the pan; the satisfying sensation of biting into a plump sausage. All of these things may be highly pleasurable for the world’s carnivores – but they will also send you to an early grave. That’s the message from Harvard Medical School, where researchers have found that regularly chowing down on red meat decreases life expectancy by 12 percent.
Scientists tracked the diets of 100,000 people over the course of almost 30 years and found that high consumption of red meat was associated with a higher mortality rate.
“The study found that cutting the amount of red meat in peoples’ diets to 1.5 ounces (42 grams) a day, equivalent to one large steak a week, could prevent almost one in 10 early deaths in men and one in 13 in women,” reported Rebecca Smith for The Telegraph.
Cancer and heart disease. “When deaths were broken down into specific causes, eating any kind of red meat increased the chances of dying from heart disease by 16 per cent and of cancer by 10 per cent,” said The Daily Mail. Processed red meat, such as salami and bacon, is the worst: “Processed red meat raised the risk of heart disease and cancer deaths by 21 per cent and 16 per cent respectively,”while unprocessed meat came in at 16 percent for heart disease and 10 percent for cancer.
So what should we eat instead? Meat-lovers should turn to fish, chicken, nuts and wholegrains as alternative sources of protein, wrote Alice Park at Time. Park said that the health benefits of switching should be enough to convince hardened carnivores: “Overall, substituting one serving a day of red meat with one of these other sources of protein lowered the risk of dying over two decades by up to 19%: chicken or whole grains each reduced the risk by 14% while nuts lowered the risk by 19%.”
Eat meat. “There’s a streak of puritanism in nearly all health warnings. Meat brings happiness and can relieve unhappiness, loneliness and sadness. Being miserable, let’s not forget, is also a cause of early death,” argued Andrew M. Brown on a Telegraph blog. According to Brown, red-meat-eating is part of the British heritage – and life would be most unpleasant without a lovely joint of beef.
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