New Study: Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Your Life

Red Meat Mar 13, 2012 – The morning news programs were all a buzz about the new study regarding red meat.

NBC’s Today Show reported that the “Archives of Internal Medicine” has published a study in which researchers say that people who ate a serving of red meat every day, that’s including beef, pork, or lamb, had a 13% higher risk of death than those who ate very little meat.  And those who ate processed meats were 20% more likely to die from cancer and heart disease. 

ABC’s Chief Health Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser commented on the report on Good Morning America.   He says the good news is that the research also shows that small changes can have a big impact.  They found that by replacing one serving of red meat with a healthier protein such as poultry, fish, whole grains, and nuts, you decrease your risk of early death by 19%.

Of course the meat industry is not happy with the study.   ABC reported that The American Meat Institute says that the new study is flawed and relies “on notoriously unreliable… and obtuse methods to apply statistical analysis to the data.”

Dr. Besser said we always have to be careful with something called an observational study.  It’s not like they told half the people to eat red meat and half not to eat red meat.  What they did was they followed 120,000 health professionals for 28 years.  They gave them a food questionnaire every four years and they found over the course of the study that 24,000 people died.  They took into account differences in smoking habits, obesity, and family history.  Dr. Besser says this is about as good as this type of study is and he feels very comfortable with the study.  His take away is  “everything in moderation”.  You can eat red meat but he suggests not eating more than two servings per week.  A serving size in this study would be 3 ounces.  That’s about the size of a deck of cards.  It is not what you normally get in a restaurant.

Dr. Besser also gave ABC’s Robin Roberts his comments regarding the “Pink Slime” controversy that is circulating the news these days. “Pink Slime” is a filler, treated with ammonia and being mixed in ground beef.  It is showing up in supermarkets more and more.  Dr. Besser says the bottom line is that the industry says it’s safe, the FDA says it’s safe and it is made from real beef.  His take away on the subject is that he wants to know if it is in whatever ground beef he may be about to eat so he can make his own choice as to whether to eat it or not!  Click here to learn more about the “Pink Slime” Controversy.

Resource:

Archives of Internal Medicine – Red Meat Consumption and Mortality

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