Eating Red Meat Raises Risk of Death from Nine Major Diseases

The consumption of red meat increases the likelihood of dying from nine major diseases, a new American study claims.

Eating beef, lamb and pork hikes susceptibility to death from cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney, liver and lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even infections, the researchers found.

They nevertheless said that regularly eating white meat may reverse the damage, with those who frequently consume chicken and fish 25 percent less likely to die from various diseases than those who rarely eat white meat.

For the study, scientists from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland tracked the eating habits of 536,000 men and women between the ages of 50 to 71 for 16 years.

They recorded how much meat the participants consumed – including processed and unprocessed red and white meat – as well as their fish intake.

The results of the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, showed that those who consumed the most red meat were 26 percent more likely to die of a range of diseases than those who ate the least.

The researchers indicated that heme iron, a type only found in animal meat, may contribute to the risk of dying from cancer or heart disease.

Overall, the experts said: “The results show increased risks of all-cause mortality and death due to nine different causes associated with both processed and unprocessed red meat.

“They also show reduced risks associated with substituting white meat, particularly unprocessed white meat.”

They went on to suggest that the effects of meat on human health may be due to such ingredients as heme iron, nitrates, and nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites are added to meat during the curing process.

While some investigators believe that nitrates from vegetable sources may have potential benefits, the researchers said that nitrates/nitrites from processed meat have been associated with increased risks of different cancers.

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