London: Eating red
meat regularly could be a passport to higher risk of death from
heart disease, new research says.
The US study is among the first to link red meat to a higher risk
of dying, even though it was suspected of causing health problems
The data, from more than 120,000 men and women who were tracked
for almost 30 years, was analysed by the Harvard School of Public
Health in Boston.
Author Frank Hu, professor at the Harvard School of Public Health,
said: "This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption
of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially
to premature death."
Around 24,000 people died during the course of the study, and it
was estimated that between 7.6 percent and 9.3 percent of those
could have been avoided if everyone taking part had eaten half a
helping of red meat less a day.
One helping was equated to 85 grams or roughly two slices of bacon
or one sausage. A striking linkage was seen between consumption of
red meat and premature death, according to the Daily Mail.
Each daily serving of unprocessed red meat, equivalent to a
helping of beef, lamb or pork about the size of a deck of cards,
raised the risk of death 13 percent, while processed meat
increased it by 20 percent.
When deaths were broken down into specific causes, eating any kind
of red meat increased the chances of dying from heart disease by
16 percent and from cancer by 10 percent.
A daily serving of unprocessed red meat raised the risk of death
by 13 percent. However it remains a significant source of
essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, selenium, B vitamins and
Processed red meat raised the risk of heart disease and cancer
deaths by 21 percent and 16 percent respectively.