By Laura Shin
Posting in Cancer
A new 20-year study of eating habits asks, "How does eating red meat hurt thee?" And then it counts the ways.
A new study shows that, as The Los Angeles Times headline puts it, "All red meat is bad for you."
In case you had any questions about what that exactly means, here's more explication: Eating any kind of red meat, in any amount, will greatly increase your risk of premature death.
The researchers reached this conclusion after examining questionnaires about eating habits and health filled out by more than 120,000 men and women from 1980 to 2006. The results were published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Here are some of the findings:
- Daily consumption of an amount of red meat equivalent to the size of a deck of cards (three ounces) was linked to a 12% increased chance of death during the study.
- A daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was associated with an even higher risk of mortality, namely, a 20% higher chance of death during the study.
And these results come on top of previous studies that linked red meat consumption to ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
All of this news may be depressing, but the study also indicates how easy it is to change one's diet to prevent any negative effects of eating red meat:
- Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork correlated with a 19% decreased chance of dying during the study.
- Opting for poultry or whole grains instead was linked to 14% reduced mortality risk.
- Consuming low-fat dairy or legumes instead of beef or pork was associated with a 10% lower chance of dying during the study.
- Eating fish as a red-meat substitute was linked to a 7% reduced mortality risk.
There are a few caveats to a study of this size. First, there could be a lot of error. When you ask more than a hundred thousand people to remember how much of what food they ate, you're bound to get a number who don't remember all that well.
Still, lead author An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that despite the details, the study showed that no amount of red meat is good for health. He told The Los Angeles Times:
"If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week. That would have a huge impact on public health."
While it's not clear exactly what is so harmful about red meat, some culprits include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, or the nitrates used to preserve them.
And whatever the exact cause is, it is apparent that the more meat one consumes, the higher the mortality risk.
Guess we'll be running to the grocery for more fish, nuts and legumes.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Brain may get boost from Mediterranean diet
- Fatty foods cause brain scarring, study shows
- The missing link between exercise and health
- Scientists slow and even freeze signs of aging in mice
- Scientists say astronauts' drink of choice should be red wine
- 17-year-old devises potential cure for cancer
- Daily aspirin reduces risk of inherited cancers
Mar 13, 2012
To all of you who don't seem to understand how health surveys like this one work. These results (like all scientific studies since the 1880s) do take into consideration all other variables like smoking, exercise, etc. It is a very simple and standard part of statistical analysis - ask any actuary at an insurance company. You are all just in shock to hear the fact that red meat is not healthy to eat. Look closer at the study itself: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/archinternmed.2011.2287
There are possibly other variables too. Did everyone in the group drink or smoke the same amount for example? Were participants mainly from one demographic? It's conceivable that eating red meat contributes to higher mortality rates IF combined with a specific other factor. For example, it's like saying that lung cancer gives you yellow teeth. If you look at the number of people with lung cancer, a lot will have discoloured teeth - however, the 'mystery ingredient' so to speak is that the people with lung cancer are more often than not smokers and smoking may be what causes yellow teeth. However it's easy to present the findings I just made up regards the links to cancer and yellow teeth - or vice versa. It could be that there is a catalyst outside of this study. The red meats for example, were the animals grass fed or grain fed? Were the people with high intake of red meat exercising any less or drinking alcohol with their meals. All I'm saying is that there is a large margin for error and an even larger margin for making certain outcomes fit certain facts. Having said that, I think the probability is that the findings are to a degree credible, I'm just not so sure it's the specific 'red meat' variable that's the cause. The same as rich people die in more private jet crashes than poor people, therefore I can surmise that there is a direct correlation between excessive wealth and private jet mortality rates :o)
i have never met an 80 year old vegan but i know alot of 80 year old meat eaters.the 80 year olds i have met all said there diets were more balanced.they didnt eat red meat every day it was more like once or twice a week.i think that if you over do anything its bad for you.why are people so extreme?i would like more info on that study.what did they die of?how is the health of the others.i dont think that we evolved eatting red meat while was killing us.its just not how evolution works.i think that we will live happy long lifes if we learn to do nothing in extreme.
Being 63 and a vegan for the past 22 years I have already considered the harmful nature of consuming animal products in my diet. And for those who aren't aware, veganism is a lifestyle choice and not just a dietary preference. I personally could care less if someone doesn't give this study any credibility or applicability to their personal life. If you are one of those folks who wants to live free of knowledge that can have a significant impact on your life, then so be it. But for those who wish to take their heads out of the sand for a few minutes, this study, along with many other related studies, such as the "China Study", can have a profound affect upon their lives. For vegans, this is a non-issue, lesson learned long ago. For those who are open to the idea, perhaps another study will support movement away from an animal based diet. Heck, even a committed meat addict, Bill Clinton, made the commitment to go vegan when he learned the truth about an animal based diet. Something to consider.
"The China Study" by T. Collin Cambell The China Study examines more than 350 variables of health and nutrition with surveys from 6,500 adults in more than 2,500 counties across China and Taiwan, and conclusively demonstrates the link between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While revealing that proper nutrition can have a dramatic effect on reducing and reversing these ailments as well as curbing obesity, this text calls into question the practices of many of the current dietary programs that are widely popular in the West. The politics of nutrition and the impact of special interest groups in the creation and dissemination of public information are also discussed in detail. "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure" by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. A powerful call for a paradigm shift in heart disease therapy. Based on the groundbreaking results of a twenty-year nutritional study by Dr. Esselstyn, a preeminent researcher and clinician, this book illustrates that a plant-based, oil-free diet can not only prevent and stop the progression of heart disease but can also reverse its effects. The proof lies in the incredible outcomes for patients who have followed Dr. Esselstyn's program, including a number of patients in his original study who had been told by their cardiologists that they had less than a year to live. Within months of starting the program, Dr. Esselstyn's patients began to improve dramatically, and twenty years later, they remain free of symptoms.
Correlation is not necessarily causation and there is more complexity here than meets the simplistic information provided here. One just has to look at our gut structure (midway between herbivore and carnivore) and our teeth structure (ditto) to draw the inevitable conclusion that homo sapiens is an OMNIVORE. Meat therefore is part of our diet. These types of reports add nothing to the debate except to give the vegans a does of the 'I told you so!'.
I have a hard time with this study since it came to the conclusion that eating red meat decreases your lifetime. This is just statistical analysis and fails to explain what is causing "premature death". I have been a vegetarian for more than 20 years but I am not jumping on the red meat is bad for you wagon. I have read other strange statistical studies that correlated the lengths of the ring and index fingers to show that people who have equal ring and index fingers are smarter, healthier, sexier, wealthier and better than others. The problem I see with this type of study is that it uses a certain attribute as if that is all that is needed to define a sub group in a population; the study justifies itself by correlating another feature that may or may not actually relate to the studied attribute. In this case the loss of life span is based on actuarial records that are continually changing and comparing it with the amount of red meat eaten in that lifetime. If the study showed that premature death occurred with the same disease or cause of death then it might have more meaning beyond statistics.
a) Let's assume we live to be 100 years old b) The study took 26 years c) They claim "a 20% higher chance of death during the study" d) Each year brings us one year closer to death, 1 year = 1 percent of 100 years. So, in 26 years the chance of dying should increase by 26 percent. But according to the study it only increases by 20 percent. Hooray, eating red meat makes You live longer.
Did eaters of red meat die by getting run over by clown cars while going for a hotdog at the circus? Perhaps eaters of red meat are targeted by vegan assassins? Maybe it was a fatal overload of B.S. from sickly looking people who do not believe plants scream when pulled from the ground just as loudly be they organicly grown or supercharged with modern fertilizers. several of my family live more than 100 years, they are daily eaters of red meats. On a vegan diet it is impossible for a young body to develop properly. The load a vegan diet puts on consumption processes within the gut are unnatural. The richness of delicious dead animals when properly prepared is quite easily absorbed. I call B.S. on this "study" and see that I am in abundant good company.
The same people that believe we came from apes think we're not supposed to eat meat. So evolution gave us these choppers to eat...grass? I guess if you factor in all the crud they put in the animals feed, all the shots they pump into the animal; then the horrible conditions of the slaughter houses that not eating the meat from American cattle ranchers is probably correct. There is no argument to the contrary if the animal is raised as organic and free range, with no hormones or vaccines. Humans are supposed to eat meat, just not pumped full of crud. And, then theres, pink slime... http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/12/pink-slime-is-good-for-americas-schoolchildren-manufacturers-claim
I hate narrow studies that focus on one aspect of a potentially bad life style. I could do a study that concludes spicy foods lead to higher unemployment rates if I narrow the focus enough. Everyone with a high school diploma earned before 1980 knows that eating a lot of red meat is bad. Any extreme in eating has the potential to be bad. Vegans are among the highest users of health care in some states. Does that make a vegan life style inherently bad? No. Yet there are hundreds of babies a year in the US that are born to vegan couples that are suffering with old and forgotten problems like scurvy and rickets because the kids are more malnourished than an average Ethiopian. A strong case can be made for NOT putting growing children on a vegan diet. Going back to an earlier point. With our crappy school systems is it any wonder people have no clue how to eat a balanced diet?
In the results section it says "Men and women with higher intake of red meat were less likely to be physically active and were more likely to be current smokers, to drink alcohol, and to have a higher body mass index (Table 1). In addition, a higher red meat intake was associated with a higher intake of total energy but lower intakes of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables." So it's very much a lifestyle issue: The people who ate the most red meat had less healthy habits, in general. It mentions that, during the study, average consumption of red meat declined. That's certainly true for me, as I opt for poultry or fish very often now as opposed to 25-30 years ago when hamburger was pretty much all I ate. (All we could afford back then!) But I don't fit the lifestyle profile, so I don't know what the study means for me.
It seems strange that a number of people were dying during the study...or if they weren't, how else was the risk assessed? I'd like to see the study, because it just seems weird that eating nuts instead of red meat changes your death risk that significantly.
Life causes death. Things kill each other, and things die, it's a cycle. It happens. I have to say I'm fairly tempted to call BS on the whole thing. Overall there's few studies that I bother to listen to any more. Call me jaded or cynical, I don't really care. But all too many are, quite simply, bought rather than truly scientific. And if they cannot tell us WHY there is the problem, there probably isn't. It's happened with smoking, and other things, and no, I am not a smoker. I do know of the BS behind the 'studies' on them. But get a clue and a life people. The old saying goes, the only two guarantees in life are death and taxes. You are NOT going to live forever. You are likely NOT going to be healthy forever (considering you WILL die at some point). Guess what, STRESS shortens your life too. Probably more than red meat. Live your life, be intelligently safe with it, but HAVE FUN, else what's the point?
So, if you don't eat red meat, you won't die? A co-worker commented, "If I eat meat, it means that I'll die happier."
I've been trying to minimize my red meat intake for some time, now. I'd say close to 80% of my breakfasts and lunches are vegan. Suppers definitely include meat, but my portions are now a bit smaller (5oz. or less). Plus, I include at least 1 serving of fish weekly, and more chicken overall. Red meat is tough to completely eliminate, but I'm working on it!
at first I thought they meant for the cows, sorry bad joke. who eats 3 oz. of meat when they do eat meat? even McDs has 4 oz. of mystery meat. no one mentioned goats - which are really yummy. so eat organic you will only be able to afford it twice a week and be supporting a good thing - you..
BTW, you wouldn't be a retired Marine would you? I know a "Vintage" Jarhead named Lance L. Smith. I think the whole vegetarian/vegan thing popped up in the last wave of hippies, I was an early adapter, so we were older and still dug hamburgers and hotrods, screaming guitars and we'd take just about anything...sometimes just to see what it really did since nobody we knew ever tried leaping from tall buildings because they thought they could fly,nobody ever ate their aunt's parakeet, stabbed their mother, raped their father, nor complelled the family dog into prostitution...but we did put a red formal ball gown on a goat once. Why? Well here was this friendly goat, and over there was this red formal gown. The goat thought it looked stunning, then decided it looked yummy. I think what really caused a lot of kids to go vegetarian was the humanification cartoons brought to cute little critters on TV who were nothing like their real life counterparts, except of course for Bullwinkle J. Moose who as we all know is a great spiritual development guru in the Evangelical Caribou Movement. There was a guy in Dallas that claimed to be a "Breatharian" in that he claimed he didn't need to eat anything, he got all his nutrition from breathing deeply. uh huh. The only thing is we'd see him out late at night/early in the morning, piging out on pastries and beef jerky at the 7-11, but back then all our gods had feet of clay, it was expected so we never mentioned he was full-o-crap, so people would bring him beads, bells, incense, flowers, patchouli oil, maryjewanna, small dogs, and sometimes drop off their kids for him to watch while they went out partying...you know, leave the kids for "spiritual Guidance!" One day Stoney (the fbi agitator who owned the hippy newspaper) dropped off this bottle of Sangria, and told old breather to pass it around. He didn't. Last time I saw him he was wandering around following the Krishnas, then he drifted off towards....where else...kalifornia! Stoney asked if everybody got off on the couple of million mics of pure LSD25 he'd put in the wine, but sure enough, old wheezer had bogarted that wine and may have invented Punk Rock. Anyway, I think that was what happened. Kampai! Otis
Most folks I know would take Clintong's Vegan conversion in the same way the Rotten Belly, or Contrarian performance artist of the Lakota warns us away from following the dinky dau. The only thing I and Mister Bill agree on is cigars, and we differ quite a bit in our ideas on where they should be placed. You'd be taking a lot for granted to assume that my dietary choices are made in ignorance. In fact, you'd be put in jail here if you attempted to raise a child on a strict vegan diet, since you must compensate for nutrients your diet does not deliver by taking synthetics, or find yourself in quite bad health indeed. I know exactly one vegan. He is a Rainbow Family Member, lives in a very poorly thought out hobit hovel, couldn't grow goat head stickers, and claims to be vegan but he always eats whatever they have where ever he is visiting this week. I think his veganism is just a whiney dirt hippie's way of bitterly complaining of our complete lack of couth in offering him the cabrito's eyeballs...hey, in Mexico the eyeballs are pretty desirable, in yuppieville...not so much. I've also noticed vegans want to eat at least three to five times a day. I eat one meal a day, a light snack around lunch if I'm bored stupid, but a full and balanced evening meal. I've never found three meals a day to be tempting. I do not eat every day. I was the same way as a kid. I was on the Football team, I played defensive left tackle. Ran a minimum of 3 miles everyday Jog,Sprint, Run, Randolph shuffle, Running backwards, 2 lbs on each ankle and 1 lb on each wrist. Our beef comes from my sons ranch, Venison from our bottomland, most of which is old growth forest, brush thickets, and small pastures where Turkey, and Dove and Quail are taken. A cousin has a Hog Parlour, In this area just about everybody has chickens which are grown out for local sale, and for sale to a major processor. We have a greenhouse, we also grow much of our food here in season and my lovely wife enjoys getting with the maid and canning. The same guys that take care of the grounds take care of the gardens most of the time, we have a massive planting of asparagus which is still young at 28 years. We also have root vegetables and winter squash, except for a hard freeze, we can almost always have something just harvested. Our dietary habits are pretty well established through several generations, but I like new things. I enjoy many foods which most Americans will never try, I worked in Japan for a few months...I'd eat stuff they wouldn't, like the sake addled baby squid, the FuGu, stuff in Bento Boxes I was sure was a joke, but nope...all those cute little objects d art are FOOD! I did feel like I was eating the garnish sometimes though. I'm not much on freshwater fish but we live near a legendary fish house so company will usually want to go there at least once each visit. I do like the Cajun sorts of swimy things, like mudbugs, and pencil whiskers. I'm 6'2 and a solid 215, My BP is 126/74, And dig it mang, if YOU were the Presidink couldn't you get hotter babes? Believe me, I can, and I won't be calling a 63 year old whipper-snapper Pops anytime soon (or in the immediate past). I still Rock N Roll, still ride streetbikes, roadbikes, and dirtbikes. My speedboat will run 115mph, my wife's big boat (she hate's fast toys)will be right at home anywhere. My cars are fast, ours are stately, hers are dreadnaught destroyer class monsters that might accidently back over a small community. I stay busy a lot. I have a few companies left (I've been selling them off) and am starting a plant in a nearby village to manufacture a product I have developed. This product is not available now, nor has it ever been. It is a percieved and known need, this product will easily sell itself, it has a very long shelf life and is dead simple to use. I designed the factory's lines, bins, meters, blenders, carton handling, and inventory reporting for both ingredients and product prepared to ship. I bought four Volvo Diesel Semi Tractors and 50 foot trailers from a manufacturer in Dallas. I designed my packaging and have a plastic injection molding plant prepared to run my packaging. My banker wants to invest, his depositors and note holders want in, I'm going with a U.S. exclusive for initial product placement, which can be extended after the first 9 months to 11 months, after which if no exclusive rights are sought we will package the product in a different appearing line, and market this to three niche type businesses. I don't think my traditional, except without the hard arteries diet, hinders my physical condition, in fact I think I owe my above average condition and stamina in large part to eating right...for me. My doctor says I'll probably out live her (I never get sick) and she's a kid! I never assumed you were making ignorant choices regarding your nutrition, and think by now you realize I have made only a few ignorant decisions in my life, and look forward to trying new ones as they come along, but as far as essential needs my choices are traditional and my personal physician fully approves. Neither my wife nor I have any chronic conditions, and we are both active to the point our children can't keep up, and we can keep up with the grandkids, my wife and I both enjoy the links we have four championship courses within 20 miles, and three of the greatest only a short hop from out nearby general aviation strip.
Where we fail in our efforts to extrapolate some understanding of the mechanisms of failure in human systems, is in part; not truly understanding the haze on our fish bowl. Heart disease in many of it's incarnations has real solutions now. I mean right now today, and ten years before this perfect day. Pity our bioimagineers, no FSCs for you. No. Not yours. And yet we know with a certainty that an almost magical restructuring is almost as simple as ?? . Oncology in The United States is poised for an amazing growth of field. In much of Asia people may live their entire lives without being in the "colateral damage" edge of a massive EM node or run. Most parts of the U.S.A. isn't only E-magged to death, no, we have such an interesting soup of wrongness to navigate each day. Why here, enjoy some nice TriX, some milk? Certainly. Well, you are already losing. That milk? Honestly, it's loaded up with broken protein instructions, hormones, and antibodies that don't really mind pasturization nor homogenaity. Don't worry about it. Yup, that is the scientific answer for inquiring minds. After all , the vaccines, lactation optimizers, potassium channel boosters, the vasoconstrictors, vitamines, and questionable "feed", make it a real fishing in a barrel plethora of possibilities that you will develop some sort of "cancer" eventually. None of those first few things seemed to do it for ya? Try this...you know that nice plastic jug? Know what else it has delivered except milk? You'd be surprised. Well, no. YOU wouldn't be surprised, but most of the world would be. Other than foodstuffs in dodgy packaging, are the clothes you wear, dyes might have unexpected reactions, but a little side story...how hot is the cotton and petrofabrics you wear? I'm not talking temperature, how many hot particles come to you from mysterious lands far away? Turns out the darned things can get into you from unimagined hosts. When I played the scientist ("All the world a stage. And we? Merely players.") Anyway, with all the nice DDT, Dieldrin, Heptichlor, defolient(agent orange-Paraquat), and Astbestos, and other lurking residuals being a quantified portion of our collective "background radiation", we friends, are well, and truly screwed. Now we just need a Large Hadron Braking System to slow down our subatomic mosh pit. But we are not going to get one because after all, back when I was actually convincing people I was a scientist, more often than amusing them with my wild assumption that laws of physics were really just general advisories, a lot of hell got raised about the INTERNATIONAL ZERO POPULATION GROWTH AGREEMENT. You see, some segments of just about all societies breed like cockroaches, and the agreement is that we will roll our population back to pre-1957 levels, and maintain those numbers. So things were introduced. You can't call it mass murder if you acknowledge that those horrible systemic poisons are in our environment, but golly...we just can't think of a single thing to make em go away! Ever hear about the tests on Premergent herbicides were in field a lot of workers on test farms had babies with no brains. The chemical worked on human seed as well as it did on plants, and in the same way. We still use it, we've just re-engineered it to keep the float down, but don't worry, it get's both it's publicly claimed job, and it's little secret chore done, though not quite as spectacularly as the rash of infants displaying Anencephaly within a migrant worker population. A lot of money went home with guest workers to "just forget the whole thing". Since those workers never really put it together they were just glad for the chance to live well, back in Sweet Home Mexico. Oh, but the marvels of biochemistry which flood into us now from before fertilization. Were I to start listing things you'd rather not think about now, I could keep listing them till you were really tired of worrying about it. That is just what we have done. Target populations have high mortality rates, non-target populations are quietly protected from things of which they are blissfully unaware, even though they have heard it before...such simple little things we are. But, bet this horse for solid returns in the next two decades: ONCOLOGY. Eat what you like, dare the devil...live dangerously, do incredibly foolhardy things just for the adrenalin, or be reclusive, studying forgotten volumns of profound brilliance...like R. Crumb's Comix and Stories. It really doesn't matter.To quote the "Deteriorata"--Give up. Fast or slow, we are all gonna go....well, unless you decide not to go through puberty and only take in the nutrients which have been engineered for bi-monthly intake. It would help if you didn't mind being deaf, dumb, and blind, but then some methods of attaining longevity are self defeating propositions...like the guy that tells his doctor he's quit smoking, quit alcohol, no more red meat, no more reckless sexual encounters,no more gambling, and no more globe trotting...and that he's "going to live forever." His doctor of course has but one question. "Why would you want to?" You are invited! Plan now to enjoy our "The Earth Dies Screaming" Party in Bangkok Thailand 12/21/12!
Are...You...A....God? Yea verily, for upon the morning of the umteenth day, of the (No Default Selected) of our Lord, the mighty Prophet Dukhalion did burst forth from his dwelling amidst the cave bear , and having lightly crunchethed ye olde numbers forthrightly, and did thunder; Meat. It extends precious human life by an average of 6% over other selections, which could damn your soul (if any) to: The usual culturaly accepted really bad stuff (snakes, worms, women from South Dakota, Hell, Bossier City.) REPENTETH! You have been warned!
The significant benefit of adding nuts to your diet is probably due to the high level of Omega-6 fatty acids in nuts. There have been many studies showing the benefit of a diet high in Omega-6 fats, as opposed to meats, especially beef, which are high in Omega-3s and low in Omega-6s. In addition, some fat in your diet adds to a feeling of fullness, and so often fewer calories are consumed in a meal, and calorie reduction has also been shown to increase lifespan.
Your "points" do not apply to the case, jon. To a study showing a high risk of earlier death due to a food choice, you say "things die?" What about that "sooner" part of the conclusion? Sooner is okay with you? And who on Earth would -- or in some cases, could -- "buy" such a study? Studies this big are not "bought," but are conducted using physician's patient-diet surveys. Vegans couldn't afford them. The Beef Counsel WOULDN'T afford them (or at least wouldn't give us these results). And your last paragraph basically says that you are simply too much of a meat-eater to consider changing your diet. Fine, but at least be honest about it, or YOU are adding to the load of BS you are complaining about.
Joe: Guess what? Ultimately you're not the one who decides when you die (not the "sooner" or the later). Wise up to the fact that some process, substance, accident is going to KILL you. You can avoid whatever you want, but short of suing red meat is the equivalent of eating asbestos, or absorption of Syphills