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Does eating red meat (steak, hamburger) more than 1-2 times per week increase my risk of dying from a heart attack or cancer?


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MedHead Message:

Eating red meat multiple times per week will increase your risk of dying from heart attack or cancer, based on findings in multiple trials. This is not to say you  can’t eat any red meat. Red meat also provides vitamin B12 and iron which are important in maintaining good health. But cut it back to 1-2 times per week MAX. Eat more fruits and veggies, beans, nuts and fish every day, as advised in the Mediterranean diet.


1. Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, Leitzmann MF, Schatzkin A. Meat Intake and Mortality: A Prospective Study of Over Half a Million People. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):562–571. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.

2. Li, H., Zeng, X., Wang, Y. et al. A prospective study of healthful and unhealthful plant-based diet and risk of overall and cause-specific mortality. Eur J Nutr 61, 387–398 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02660-7.

3. Fontana, Luigi et al. ‘Dietary Intake of Animal and Plant Proteins and Risk of All Cause and Cause-specific Mortality: The Epic-Italy Cohort’. 1 Jan. 2022 : 1 – 12. 4. Huang J, Liao LM, Weinstein SJ, Sinha R, Graubard BI, Albanes D. Association Between Plant and Animal Protein Intake and Overall and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2020 Sep 1;180(9):1173-1184. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2790. PMID: 32658243; PMCID: PMC7358979.


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