Is eating red meat bad for health? This highly controversial question has been debated between various groups of people for years.
Eating too much meat would probably cause people to put on weight. Being overweight or obese, one will have a much higher chance of getting many medical complications like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and even certain types of cancer.
In order to find out answer pertaining to this question, the National Cancer Institute in United States carried out one of the largest study.
The researchers reported that people who eat the most red meat as well as processed meat have the highest overall risk of death from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Their findings appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine on March 23, 2009.
More than 500,000 people aged between 50 and 71 were involved in the study. They filled out questionnaires on their diet and other health habits. Their records were later examined by the researchers.
It was found that people who ate meat heavily were more likely to die over the next 10 years than those who ate the least amount of meat, even when other factors such as eating fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise, obesity and smoking were accounted for.
The researchers found that the consumption of red and processed meat were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular mortality.
The volunteers participated in the study were divided into 5 groups, called quintiles. There were 47,976 men and 23,276 women died during the period between 1995 and 2005.
People in the quintile that ate the most red meat had a higher risk for overall death, death from heart disease and cancer than the men and women who ate the least red meat.
If people could eat less meat, thousands of deaths could just be prevented. For overall mortality, 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented should people reduced their red meat intake to the level in the first quintile.