Put down the burger: We hate to put a damper on your summer barbecue plans, but a new study shows that eating red meat regularly can put you at a much higher risk for death. If you eat a lot of beef, you’re specifically putting yourself at a higher risk for nine diseases: cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, and liver disease. That’s quite a laundry list of health hazards.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, studied 536,000 men and women ages 50 to 71 over the course of 16 years. For analysis, the cohort was divided into fifths based on meat consumption. The fifth who ate the most meat had a 26 percent increased risk of death associated with these diseases, as compared with the fifth who ate the least amount of red meat. However, the fifth that ate the most white meat (chicken, turkey, and fish) was found to have a 25 percent lower mortality rate.
The findings seem to contradict a December 2016 study that found little to no correlation between eating red meat and heart problems.
“This is an observational study, and we can’t determine whether red meat is responsible for these associations,” lead author, Arash Etemadi, an epidemiologist with the National Cancer Institute told The New York Times. Etemendi indicated, however, that because of the study’s long duration and the strength of the data, “we can see that it’s happening” with regard to the effect of red meat intake on mortality.
If you’re still feeling conflicted, check out the 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Eat Red Meat — and 8 Reasons Why You Should Slideshow here.