Eating red meat increases your chance of dying prematurely, according to a large study.
The study of more than a half million middle-age and elderly Americans is supported by the National Cancer Institute and published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study found that people who ate the equivalent of about a small hamburger every day were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Processed meat, such as cold cuts and sausage (and even clown bologna!), also increased the risk.
And yes, pork counts too, even though it's touted as the "other white meat." Turns out it's not because of its iron content.
So what in red meat makes it so dangerous? Lotsa stuff:
- The way it's cooked: High-heat grilling creates cancer-causing compounds.
- Iron content: Believed to promote cancer
- High in saturated fat: Associated with colorectal and breast cancers
- Curing: Many cold cuts contain the preservative nitrates, which form nitrosamines, also associated with cancer.
Eating fish, chicken, turkey and other poultry decreased the risk of death by a small amount, the study found.