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Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
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Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
CANCER
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
CAREGIVING
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
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Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
FITNESS
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
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Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
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INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
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More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
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MEN'S HEALTH
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Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Add your Article

Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Diets high in red meat and in processed meat shorten life span not just from cancer and heart disease but from Alzheimer's, stomach ulcers and an array of other conditions as well, a U.S. National Cancer Institute study has found.

In fact, reducing meat consumption to the amount eaten by the bottom 20 percent seen in the study would save 11 percent of men's lives and 16 percent of women's, according to the study.

"The consumption of red meat was associated with a modest increase in total mortality," said Rashmi Sinha, lead author of the study in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

"This fits together with the findings of the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Cancer Society, which recommend limiting the consumption of red meat," added Sinha, who is a senior investigator with the nutrition epidemiological branch in the cancer epidemiology and genetics division at the Cancer Institute. "This is something new in the sense of mortality."

Previous studies of red meat had mostly found an association with cancer incidence. The authors pointed out that many pooled studies had been conducted by vegetarian groups.

Last year, U.S. National Cancer Institute researchers reported that a quarter-pound hamburger or a small pork chop eaten daily could put you at increased risk for a variety of cancers. The message from the latest study echoes that finding: The more red meat and processed meat you eat, the greater your risk for dying of cancer.

But the American Meat Institute objected to the conclusion, saying in a statement that the study relied on "notoriously unreliable self-reporting about what was eaten in the preceding five years. This imprecise approach is like relying on consumers' personal characterization of their driving habits in prior years in determining their likelihood of having an accident in the future."

"Meat is an excellent source of zinc, iron, B12 and other essential vitamins and minerals," the statement continued. "The U.S. Dietary Guidelines say to eat a balanced diet that includes lean meat. In this way, you derive a wide array of nutrients from many different sources. It's the best return on a nutritional investment you can get."

Dr. Michael Thun, vice president emeritus of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, however, said the study's findings "support previous studies and also support the American Cancer Society nutrition guidelines."

Those guidelines include choosing fish, poultry or beans instead of beef, pork and lamb; choosing leaner cuts of meat; and baking, broiling or poaching meat rather than frying or charbroiling it.

For the study, the researchers looked at what more than a half-million people, ages 50 to 71, were eating over the span of a decade. Participants tended to be white and educated with fewer smokers and more vegetable-and-fruit eaters than in the general population. During that time, more than 71,000 people died.

Men and women eating the highest amount of red meat were found to have a 31 percent and 36 percent, respectively, higher risk of dying from any cause than those eating the least amount.

Women eating the most processed meat were 25 percent more likely to die early than those eating the least of this type of meat, while men had a 16 percent increased risk, the study found.

Causes of death for those in the study included diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, ulcers, pneumonia, influenza, liver disease, HIV, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and more.

Dying from cancer also was more likely among those eating the most red meat: 22 percent higher for men, 20 percent for women. The risk for death from cancer increased 12 percent for men and 11 percent for women who ate the greatest amount of processed meat.

Similarly, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was higher by 27 percent for men and 50 percent for women; for processed red meat, the risk was 9 percent higher for men and 38 percent higher for women.

However, people who ate the most white meat showed a lower risk of dying.

The authors also noted a 24 percent higher risk of dying from heart problems among men who had never smoked and who ate more white meat. Women faced a 20 percent higher risk.

Meat contains many carcinogens as well as saturated fat, which might explain the increased mortality risk, the authors stated.

Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La., described the study's findings as "provocative."

"The question is how much of it is the meat and how much is the extra calories," Brooks said. "Calories per se are a strong determinant for death from cancer and heart disease. This should make us think about our calorie intake."

More information

The American Dietetic Association has more on healthy eating.



SOURCES: Rashmi Sinha, Ph.D., senior investigator, nutrition epidemiological branch, division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, U.S. National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Michael Thun, M.D., vice president emeritus, epidemiology and surveillance research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Jay Brooks, M.D., chairman, hematology/oncology, Ochsner Health System, Baton Rouge, La.; March 23, 2009, statement, American Meat Institute, Washington, D.C.; March 23, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine

Last Updated: March 23, 2009

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