Replacing Meat With Nuts Lowers Health Risks: Study
The study, “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality”, was published online this month by the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The researchers examined data from 37,698 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2008) and 83,644 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2008) who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the beginning of the observations.
Their diets were assessed by validated questionnaires and updated every four years.
The study found that daily consumption of the recommended serving size of red meat increased a person’s risk of dying by 13 per cent, confirming long-held beliefs linking the consumption of red meat to increased heart disease and cancer.
Eating processed meats, such as salami, hot dogs or bacon, increased the risk by another 7 per cent.
However replacing just one serving of red meat per day with a protein substitute lowered the risk of death between 7 and 19 per cent.
Nuts were the top choice.
Substituting nuts – including peanuts, which have more protein than any other nut – for red meat lowered the risk by 19 per cent.
Poultry or whole grains cut the risk 14 per cent, and fish by 7 per cent.
The researchers estimated that 9.3 per cent of deaths in men and 7.6 per cent in women could be prevented at the end of follow-up if all the individuals ate less than half a serving of red meat per day (approximately 42g).
Study author Professor Frank Hu said the study clearly demonstrated that the consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributed substantially to premature deaths.