will eating red meat lead you to certain death?
With the first day of spring just around the corner, we’ve got red meat on the brain. We’re all too anxious to fire up our grills in anticipation of hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, and big, juicy steaks. All bacon-wrapped, of course. Too bad our love for red meat (and processed meat) may lead us to an early grave.
NPR reports a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows people who eat around one serving of red meat (think beef, lamb, or some pork) each day are 13 percent more likely to die than their friends who usually skip on the meat. And those hot-dog lovers out there? The news organization says they have a 20 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or other ilnesses.
Our summer trips to the ballpark just got depressing. A tofu dog is un-American.
“The statistics are staggering,” Frank Hu, the study’s author and a Harvard professor of nutrition and epidemiology, tells NPR. “The increased risk is really substantial.”
But before you toss all the red meat, bologna, sausage and—oh, the pain!—bacon, from your fridge, Hu grants us a slight reprieve.
“We’re not talking about a vegetarian diet ” he tells NPR. “A moderate consumption, for example one serving every other day, I think is fine,” adding that processed meats can get the green light “once in a while.”
The American Cancer Society agrees.
“Limiting [red meat] consumption to two to three times per week would be wise,” the group’s strategic director Marji McCullough tells NPR.
So, instead of red meat, the researchers suggest eating chicken (decreased risk of death: 14 percent), legumes (10 percent lower risk) or fish (7 percent lower risk), according to the news organization.
Phew. Our ballgame meals are safe. We’ll just try to steer clear of a double hitter.
Want some alternatives to red meat? Check out our chicken, fish, and vegetarian recipes!