A recent study conducted by the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that “Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality.”
The study tested 500,000 people between the ages of 50 and 71, with a baseline at 1995 and then included a follow-up editorial on the study.
Findings showed that "middle-aged and elderly Americans who ate four ounces of red meat a day 'were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the ten years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer.'" For men, the chance of death from an injury was increased by a high consumption of red meat. The same did not prove true in the case of women. On the flipside the Archives concluded that a "high white meat intake and a low-risk meat diet was associated with a small decrease in total and cancer mortality", as lower consumption in red meat can reduce cholesterol triglyceride levels. Fish and white meat serve as healthier alternatives. With regard to smokers, the intake of processed meat showed a significant increase in the chances of cancer mortality for both former and current smokers.
In response, the red meat industry mentions that lifestyle changes associated with the increased risk of disease could affect the results of the study.
Gourmet writer Sam Hurst also points out the discrepancy among production standards within the study. He follows up with the study to explain the findings of Dr. Kevin Weiland, an internal medicine physician who works with diabetic and obese Native Americans, which argues that the correlation between red meat consumption and an increased likelihood of disease could be caused by the change in diet for cattle from grass to corn.
Studies have yet to prove or disprove this argument. However, the amount of saturated fat found within any meat has “been positively associated with breast and colon cancer. In any case, for the time being, it is recommended to regulate one's intake of red and processed meat to small quantities, in conjunction with a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables.
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