In a new study, researchers found that eating two servings of unprocessed red meat, processed meat or poultry a week has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
The research was conducted by a team at Cornell University and Northwestern University.
The team found that eating two servings of red meat, unprocessed meat or poultry – but not fish – per week was linked to a 3 to 7% higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, eating two servings of unprocessed red meat or processed meat – but not poultry or fish – was associated with a 3% higher risk of all causes of death.
The team says modifying the intake of these animal protein foods may be an important dietary strategy to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death at the population level.
They also found a 4% higher risk of heart disease for people who ate two servings per week of poultry, but the evidence so far is not sufficient to make a clear recommendation about poultry intake.
The researchers suggest dietary alternatives, such as fish, seafood and plant-based sources of protein, to lessen one’s risk of heart disease and premature death.
The findings support current dietary guidelines that recommend limiting processed meat and unprocessed red meat intake.
People can get needed nutrients from various other foods. Take protein, for example, people can choose egg whites, fish, legumes, whole grains and nuts to replace processed meat and unprocessed red meat.
The lead author of the study is Victor Zhong, an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell.
The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
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