The Red meat It is an important source of proteins and fats, in addition to providing vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. And, frequently, the amount of meat present in the habitual diet of a certain population has served to evaluate the quality of their diet. However, data from a study conducted in the United States, which has lasted more than twenty years, have confirmed that consuming too much red meat, and especially if it is processed meat -like sausages-, increases the chances of developing a cardiovascular disease, and also mortality rates, both for this cause and for cancer.
The research, which involved 83,644 women and 37,698 men, aimed to determine the relationship between the intake of red meat and causes of mortality. Although several studies had already associated the consumption of red meat with greater probabilities of suffering cardiac pathologies, diabetes and, even, several types of cancer -especially colon cancer- in this case the population studied was higher, and the follow-up to the volunteers was has lasted for more than two decades, as explained by the authors of the study in Archives of Internal Medicine.
The consumption of red meat, especially processed meat - such as sausages - increases the chances of developing cardiovascular disease and dying prematurely
The volunteers completed several surveys - every four years - in which they provided data on the food they consumed, both red and processed meats, as well as fish, cereals, legumes ... They also provided information about their medical history and if they had a family history of cardiovascular disorders , oncological diseases, diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, as well as their life habits: if they practiced any sport or exercise, if they took vitamin supplements and, in the case of menopausal women, it was also taken into account if they were in treatment with therapy hormone replacement (THS).
Of the 8,926 men who died during the follow-up, 3,073 died as a result of cancer and 2,716 died due to some cardiovascular pathology; while of the deceased women, 6,391 died of cancer, and 3,194 died of heart disease. Researchers have pointed out that people who ate more red meat -both men and women- also stood out for being the most sedentary, those who consumed more tobacco and alcohol, and those who presented more body mass index.
Red meat: no more than 70 grams a day
According to the results of the study, a serving of red meat a day - a piece about the size of a deck of cards - can mean a 13 percent increase in the risk of premature mortality, which rises to 20 percent if It's about processed meat (the equivalent of a sausage or a couple of slices of bacon). In relation to the causes of death associated with the consumption of these foods, the risk of mortality due to heart disease increases by 18 and 21 percent respectively, and 10 and 16 percent in the case of cancer.
Given these results, which also confirm those obtained in other clinical studies, experts advocate replacing red meat with other foods that provide high quality proteins (legumes, such as soy, fish, other meats such as chicken, nuts and dairy). This avoids the excess of saturated fats and certain carcinogenic substances that are produced when cooking meat.
In Spain, according to specialists, too much red meat is consumed, despite being a country where you can get several types of fish at affordable prices, as well as vegetables, fruit and vegetables. For this reason, they recommend changing their eating habits and not eating more than 70 grams of red meat each day - the average is currently estimated at around 250 grams a day - while increasing the amount of legumes, low-fat poultry (chicken, turkey ...), fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fruit and vegetables.