A recent study has again linked the consumption of low grade meat products, such as bacon and sausages to  an increased risk of early death. The study followed 5556 participants over a 12.7 year period and concluded that people who regularly consume highly processed meats had a 44% increased chance of premature death, with a vastly increased risk of developing cancer or heart disease.

This is nothing particularly new in the world of health, we are all aware of the health implications of heavily processed meats. What interested me about this study though, was that during the study, processed meats and regular non-precessed red meats were evaluated separately in the study, whereas in past studies these two categories have been grouped together as ‘meat products’.

By grouping these two categories together in the past, the reputation of red meats has been brought down by the processed foods. By separating the two categories in such a large study has allowed researches and the public to evaluate red meats and processed meats separately and see that red meats are not as ‘evil’ as previously portrayed.

The authors of the study also pointed out that “red meat contains essential nutrients and minerals that might be missing from a vegetarian diet” – emphasising the benefits of red meat.

This isn’t to say that red meat will now count as 1 of your 5-a-day, but red meat is very nutritious and can be enjoyed in a healthy diet. High quality cuts of red meat contain a vast array of nutrients and do help promote our health, just avoid the processed ones!

Image courtesy of stevendepolo

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