1. Chu, Julie MSN
  2. Singh Joy, Subhashni D.

Article Content

According to this study:


* Consuming high levels of red and processed meat is associated with increased risk of death.


In this large, national study, data from about half a million men and women ages 50 to 71 who responded to a dietary intake questionnaire were used to determine the risks of death (total mortality) and cause-specific death associated with consuming red, white, and processed meats. Red meat included beef and pork; white meat included chicken, turkey, and fish. Processed meats included cold cuts and hot dogs containing either red or white meat. Meat intake was categorized into quintiles.


During a follow-up period of 10 years, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died. Compared with people in the lowest quintiles of red meat and processed meat consumption, men and women in the highest quintiles had higher rates of total mortality, cancer-related death, and cardiovascular disease-related death. For example, women who consumed processed meat at the lowest quintile level had a 20% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, compared with those at the highest quintile level. For white meat consumption, however, men and women in the highest quintiles showed decreases in total mortality and cancer-related death.


Because the study population consisted primarily of people with higher levels of education who ate more healthfully and smoked less than other Americans in the same age group, the researchers caution against generalizing these findings to other populations. The findings, however, add to the body of evidence suggesting a need to moderate or decrease red and processed meat consumption.-JC


Sinha R, et al. Arch Intern Med2009;169(6):562-71.