Can processed and red meat kill you?

Meat consumption and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

Meat consumption has increased significantly since World War II.

Long confined to the Western world – North America, North and Western Europe, and Australia/New Zealand – meat consumption is now also on the rise in other countries, such as China, due to their economic development.

From a physiological perspective, a diet rich in meat has several potential nutritional benefits but also some potential adverse effects.

Meat is rich in protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins, as well as vitamin A. The bioavailability of iron and folate from meat is higher than from plant products such as grains and leafy green vegetables.

The drawback, however, is the high content of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids, both of which have been shown to be positively associated with plasma low density lipoprotein (LDL) concentrations and the risk of coronary heart disease.

Although iron is essential for prevention of anemia, a high intake, especially of heme iron, may be a cancer risk factor, for example, colon cancer.

 

Meat consumption and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

The results of a detailed analysis published in BMC Medicine found that “men and women with a high consumption of processed meat are at increased risk of early death, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases but also to cancer. In this population, reduction of processed meat consumption to less than 20 g/day would prevent more than 3% of all deaths. As processed meat consumption is a modifi- able risk factor, health promotion activities should include specific advice on lowering processed meat consumption.”

This is one good reason to eat more meat-free meals, and they’re nearly always cheaper, lower in calories, and better for the environment. Read more here…