It has always been known that red meat and heart disease share a relationship. What wasn’t as popularly known is the relationship between red meat and cancer!  Red meat is high in saturated fat which has the impact of elevating cholesterol levels in the blood, and it is this increase in LDL or bad cholesterol levels that contributes to heart diseases. Red meat eaten in moderation can have quite the detrimental impact on an individual’s life. Much research to date has been conducted on this matter and the result has been unified, red meat can be harmful, especially to heart health.

However a recent research has contributed the most to this subject and established a much clearer, more vivid link between consumption of red meat and cancer or heart troubles. Here is a review of this research and the link of red meat and cancer and heart disease explained.

Red Meat and Cancer and Heart diseases

A study recently conducted by the researchers of Harvard School of Public Health has come up with conclusive results that have been the most concrete up till of a possible connection between red meat and cancer along with red meat and heart disease.

This study was a large scale longitudinal study involving 84000 women and 34000 men. These subjects were followed in the Nurse’s Health Study and Health Professional’s Follow-Up Study for a span of 28 years. The study established astonishing results displaying that 13% of the people who were consuming red meat on a daily basis were more likely to die in the period of the study while 14% of these people were more likely to develop some sort of heart disease or cancer. The research further went on to show that those who consumed processed meat in the form of bacon, salami or hotdogs daily were at a 20% more risk of death and an 18% more risk in heart problems or cancer.

According to a research conducted by the National Institutes of Health, in America, the love of meat in the general population accounts for around about 1.5 million deaths per decade. If compared with cigarette smoking, the risk is much lower, as cigarette smoking can add risk of heart problems and cancer by 200o-400%! Either ways, 1.5 million is a massive number.
The participants of this study filled out questionnaires on food frequency every four years. Every 2 years the researchers gathered information on the participants based on other health factors such as weight, physical activity level and cigarette smoking. In the course of the study 24000 participants disease, out of which 5900 died because of a cardiovascular disease and 9500 died due to cancer. The study gathered evidence stating that adding one extra serving of unprocessed meat to the daily routine increased the risk of mortality by 13% while addition of an extra serving of processed meat raised the risk of mortality by 20%.

Furthermore, this study was also able to establish that replacing red meat with other food sources such as legumes, fish, nuts or poultry could reduce the risk of total mortality by 7% to 19%. According to these scientists if the participants of this study had all consumed lesser than 1.5 ounce of red meat every day, a lot of deaths could have prevented, with 9.3% of the deaths in men and 7.6% in women.


This study was an observational study and it’s possible that other factors came into play in determining the results that this research was able to ultimately establish. Red meat is an important source of various minerals including zinc, iron and also vitamin D and making it a part of an everyday balanced diet is possible. However, it must be consumed in limited amounts and serious measures must be taken to make sure consumption is minimized greatly.