The conclusion says it all: A study entitled Red Meat Consumption and Mortality published in the Archives of Internal Medicine “found that a higher intake of red meat was associated with a significantly elevated risk of total, CVD (cardio-vascular disease), and cancer mortality, and this association was observed for unprocessed and processed red meat, with a relatively greater risk for processed red meat.”
In this massive study, documenting 23,926 deaths, participants’ self-reported eating was tracked, in some instances for as long as twenty years. Participants recorded how many times a day they consumed red meat in the form of beef, pork, lamb, hamburgers, and sandwiches containing meat, as well as processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, sausage, salami, and bologna, etc.
What the study didn’t track, or at least report on, was whether the meat consumed was from factory farmed animals; which accounts for almost 99% of the meat consumed in the United States, versus animals that were raised in “natural” settings, free to graze and forage. Thus we don’t know how much, if any, of the problem is related to hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides in feed that ultimately find their way into the meat.
In all, the findings reveal that consuming red meat increases the odds of death in males by 9.3% and in females, by 7.6%. Those numbers are significant when you think about it. For males, there is almost a 1 in 10 chance that eating red meat will kill you. The study doesn’t mention what happened to the meat eaters who were still alive, but it is probably safe to say that their health was at least impaired.
The study did note that “Substitution of fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains for red meat was associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.”
The best bet is to avoid eating meat, of any kind, altogether. If you don’t do it for your own health, then do it for the health of the animals, whose lives are being stolen. In the United States there is no nutritional reason to eat animals. Healthier alternatives, that are also environmentally friendly, abound.