Eating large quantities of red meat may be associated with elevated total, cancer, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality risk.

This study investigated the relationship between red meat consumption and mortality risk. Using data obtained from validated food frequency questionnaires, 1980-2008 Nurses’ Health Study, and 1986-2008 Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers examined the diets of 121342 individuals who were initially free from cancer and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The total, cancer, and CVD mortality hazard ratios of all the subjects were also evaluated.

Researchers observed high total, cancer, and CVD mortality hazard ratios in subjects who consumed 1-serving of processed and unprocessed red meat per day. On the other hand, subjects who replaced red meat with poultry, fish, nuts, and whole grains and those who ate less than 0.5 servings of red meat per day had lower mortality risk. These findings provide strong evidence that high intake of red meat is strongly linked with increased cancer, CVD, and total mortality risk.

Unfortunately the grouping together of poultry, fish, low-fat dairy, legumes, nuts and whole grains allows the healthful properties of legumes, nuts and whole grains to be associated with poultry, fish and low-fat dairy.