Letter to the Editor

Study links red meat to premature death

Sunday, March 18, 2012

To the Editor:

A new study might make you rethink your dinner plans.

Red meat has been linked to increased risk of premature death, including death from heart disease and cancer.

Harvard School of Public Health researchers followed 121,342 individuals for up to 28 years and found that each daily serving of red meat increased the risk of dying by 12 percent.

For processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs, each daily serving increased the risk of death by 20 percent.

And chicken isn't a healthy choice either -- high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat put consumers at risk of heart disease and stroke.

The good news? The study found that replacing even one serving of red meat with nuts reduced risk of dying by 19 percent.

Other studies show that a low-fat plant-based diet can increase the body's ability to fight premature aging and lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.

Tonight, fill your plate with an array of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grants -- foods that could add years to your life.

Ulka Agarwal, M.D.,

Chief Medical Officer,

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,

Washington, D.C.