New research published in the BMJ looked at the association between different types of meat intake and disease risk. Over the course of 16 years the diet and health of 536,000 men and women aged 50-71 was tracked.
The study compared total meat intake of processed red meat (bacon, sausage, etc.), unprocessed red meat (beef, pork, lamb), white meat (poultry, fish, seafood), heme iron (type of iron found in animal protein), and nitrate/nitrite consumption (additive in processed meats such as bacon and sausage.)
Results showed 26% increased risk of death from 9 different diseases (heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, infections, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, and liver disease) in the group who ate the most red meat and processed red meat.
High intake of heme iron and nitrate/nitrites from processed meat was also associated with an increased risk in death, although researchers found a stronger tie with nitrate/nitrite consumption than from heme iron consumption.
Interestingly higher white meat intake resulted in a 25% reduced risk of death from diseases.
Many organizations such as the American Heart Association recommend limiting intake of red meat, especially processed red meat, to promote greater health. The Mediterranean Diet which as been associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer recommend limiting red meat to about once or twice per month.
If you are a red meat lover consider eating it less often, reducing your portion size, and selecting leaner cuts such as bison, lean pork loin, 95% ground beef, eye round roast, and top sirloin steak.
Portobello Mushroom Burgers
295 calories per serving
4 Portobello mushroom caps
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs chopped rosemary
1 1/2 tsp steak seasoning
4 red onion slices
4 thin slices of reduce fat Swiss cheese
4 tomato slices
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
2 handfuls of baby spinach
4 whole wheat low calorie buns