Monday, March 19, 2012

Harvard's Meat and Mortality Study

Last week, the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-up Study  (22 year study of 37,698 men) and the Harvard Nurses' Health Study (28 year study of 83,644 women) concluded that meat consumption is associated with living a significantly shorter life, through increased cancer mortality, increased heart disease mortality and increased overall mortality.

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A combined 23,926 deaths were documented in the two studies, of which, 5,910 were from cardiovascular disease and 9,464 were from cancer.  Regular consumption of red meat, particularly processed red meat, was associated with increased mortality risk.  One daily serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 13% increased risk of mortality, and one daily service of processed meat (i.e. one hot dog or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 20% increased risk.

Replacing one serving of total red meat with one serving of a healthy protein source was associated with the following lower mortality risks: 7% for fish, 14% for poultry, 19% for nuts, 10% for legumes, 10% for low-fat dairy products, and 14% for whole grains.

Photo by steffenz

For more on this study, check out Dr Michael Greger's video and Dr Fuhrman's blog post, which also brings up the environmental issues related to eating meat, from Dean Ornish's commentary on the study.


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