Love a nice juicy steak, a great greasy cheeseburger? Think breakfast isn't breakfast without a few sausage links or strips of crispy bacon? Do you firmly believe pork fat rules?
Prepare to die. (This cow was found on Chick Fil A's jobs page. You get Sundays off.)
That's the headline being taken from an analysis of health records from 500,000 middle aged folks who were part of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
People who entered the study were asked about their meat intake, and their health records were followed for 10 years.
The 20% of men who reported eating the most beef and processed meat were 11% more likely to be dead at the end of the study, while the 20% of women who ate the most were 21% more likely to be dead, than those 20% who reportedly ate the least.
This correlation did not hold for chicken or fish eaters. In fact, the study showed they actually had a slightly lower risk of death from cancer or heart problems.
Before heading to the panic which ensued, let's look again at the conclusion:
Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality
The boldface is mine.
Now for the scary headlines:
- Too much red meat can be deadly. Scientific American.
- BBQ meat linked to higher risk of death. Sydney Morning Herald.
- Red meat linked to early death. Marketwatch.
- Eating red meat increases death from all causes. Healthknowitall.
Now there has been some pushback. Meat and Livestock Australia insists red meat consumption leads to weight loss, reductions in blood pressure and improvements in preventing cardiovascular disease.
There's also the Center for Consumer Freedom, originally funded by the cigarette industry, and now run by Washington lobbyist Rick Berman. They're out with a hilarious ad condemning "the latest study" as a threat to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The sum of Berman's worst fears may be reflected in an Annals of Internal Medicine editorial accompanying the anti-meat study, saying reducing red meat production would alleviate many global concerns.