Red meat lovers have yet to move on from the World Health Organization's announcement that bacon causes cancer. This new research suggesting that daily consumption of red meat shortens lifespan may be too much to bear.
A past study showed that moderate levels of serum phosphate levels in red meat accelerate the biological aging of the body.
In a new research, Mayo Clinic physicians found that eating too much processed red meats, such as sausage, salami and bacon, and daily consumption of unprocessed meats, such as pork, beef or lamb, ups mortality rates.
In a meta-analysis involving 1.5 million individuals, the researchers found that non-vegetarians who consume processed red meats daily have higher all-cause mortality compared with vegetarians who live longer.
They also found that the level of meat consumption significantly affects mortality rate - even a tiny addition of meat in the diet can increase risk of dying. Those who consume less meat have reduced all-cause mortality rate by 25 percent to 50 percent.
Individuals who have been consuming vegetables for over 17 years have increased life span by 3.6 years compared with those who have only adapted short-term vegetarian diets. It was also noted that vegan diet (no eggs, milk, fish, and animal products) confers more protection for hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease mortality than those who included milk and fish in their diet.
While the researchers admitted that their study has limitations, including absence of large clinical trials, they still recommend health care practitioners to include diet advice in their preventive care and treatment plans. Patients should be aware of how their diet influences their lifespan.
"This data reinforce what we have known for so long - your diet has great potential to harm or heal," assistant professor at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine's Family Medicine and Clinical Sciences Brookshield Laurent said.
The study was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association on May 5.