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Will Reducing Red Meat Consumption increase Life Expectancy?

Posted Mar 13 2012 1:41pm

In my neverending quest to live until 107, I constantly read up on anything I find that might improve my chances.

Here is a provocative study that is making the media rounds suggesting that red meat consumption increases your chances of dying early .

According to researchers, eating red meat has been associated with an increase risk of all sorts of chronic diseases. They followed over 120,000 people from 1980 – 2008 and had them fill out information about their diets ever 4 years. Then they analyzed the data to see what diet factors affected mortality.

It turned out that people who consistently ate red meat died much more frequently than people who ate less or none at all. If you substituted nuts or fish for beef and pork you could reduce your risk of dying by 19%. Poultry, whole grains, and fish also led to lower mortality rates.

So what does it all mean? Well, if you want to reduce your chances of dying prematurely then you’ll want to cut back on the amount of meat you eat. I’ve already started doing this but it’s good to know that it may be increasing my chances of living longer.

Of course, with studies like this I remain a bit skeptical. There were not good controls, there is no tested hypothesis why red meat causes premature death, and the data relied on the honesty and memory of people in the study. Before making a major life change, I’d like to see a better controlled study.

However, there is no downside to eating less meat so I’m all for it.

Meatless Monday meet Fish Friday.

Joggle on.

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