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Concept: White meat


Recently, some US cohorts have shown a moderate association between red and processed meat consumption and mortality supporting the results of previous studies among vegetarians. The aim of this study was to examine the association of red meat, processed meat, and poultry consumption with the risk of early death in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Concepts: Nutrition, Meat, White meat


Growing evidence suggests that effects of red meat consumption on coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes could vary depending on processing. We reviewed the evidence for effects of unprocessed (fresh/frozen) red and processed (using sodium/other preservatives) meat consumption on CHD and diabetes. In meta-analyses of prospective cohorts, higher risk of CHD is seen with processed meat consumption (RR per 50 g: 1.42, 95 %CI = 1.07-1.89), but a smaller increase or no risk is seen with unprocessed meat consumption. Differences in sodium content (~400 % higher in processed meat) appear to account for about two-thirds of this risk difference. In similar analyses, both unprocessed red and processed meat consumption are associated with incident diabetes, with higher risk per g of processed (RR per 50 g: 1.51, 95 %CI = 1.25-1.83) versus unprocessed (RR per 100 g: 1.19, 95 % CI = 1.04-1.37) meats. Contents of heme iron and dietary cholesterol may partly account for these associations. The overall findings suggest that neither unprocessed red nor processed meat consumption is beneficial for cardiometabolic health, and that clinical and public health guidance should especially prioritize reducing processed meat consumption.

Concepts: Nutrition, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Meat, Saturated fat, Pork, Red meat, White meat


This paper is based on a workshop held in Oslo, Norway in November 2013, in which experts discussed how to reach consensus on the healthiness of red and processed meat. Recent nutritional recommendations include reducing intake of red and processed meat to reduce cancer risk, in particular colorectal cancer (CRC). Epidemiological and mechanistic data on associations between red and processed meat intake and CRC are inconsistent and underlying mechanisms are unclear. There is a need for further studies on differences between white and red meat, between processed and whole red meat and between different types of processed meats, as potential health risks may not be the same for all products. Better biomarkers of meat intake and of cancer occurrence and updated food composition databases are required for future studies. Modifying meat composition via animal feeding and breeding, improving meat processing by alternative methods such as adding phytochemicals and improving our diets in general are strategies that need to be followed up.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Meat, Saturated fat, Livestock, Pork, Red meat, White meat


Dietary guidelines emphasize selecting lean (low-fat) meats to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol, but growing evidence suggests that health effects may relate to other ingredients, such as sodium, heme iron, or L-carnitine. Understanding how meats influence health, and on which nutrients this relationship depends, is essential to advise consumer choices, set guidelines, and inform food reformulations. A recent study published in BMC Medicine involving 448,568 participants in 10 European countries, provides important evidence in this regard. After multivariate adjustment, intake of unprocessed red meat was not significantly associated with total or cause-specific mortality; conversely, intake of processed meat was associated with a 30% higher rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (per 50g/day, relative risk 1.30, 95% confidence interval 1.17 to 1.45) and also higher cancer mortality. These findings are consistent with our previous meta-analysis, based on smaller studies, showing strong associations of processed meats, but not unprocessed meats, with CVD. Preservatives are the notable difference; the calculated blood-pressure effects of sodium differences (around 400% higher in processed meats) explain most of the observed higher risk. Although unprocessed red meats seem to be relatively neutral for CVD, healthier choices are available, including fish, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Public-health guidance should prioritize avoidance of processed meats, including the low-fat deli meats currently marketed as healthy choices, and the food industry should substantially reduce sodium and other preservatives in processed meats.

Concepts: Health, Nutrition, Meat, Saturated fat, Livestock, Pork, Red meat, White meat


Objective To determine the association of different types of meat intake and meat associated compounds with overall and cause specific mortality.Design Population based cohort study.Setting Baseline dietary data of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (prospective cohort of the general population from six states and two metropolitan areas in the US) and 16 year follow-up data until 31 December 2011.Participants 536 969 AARP members aged 50-71 at baseline.Exposures Intake of total meat, processed and unprocessed red meat (beef, lamb, and pork) and white meat (poultry and fish), heme iron, and nitrate/nitrite from processed meat based on dietary questionnaire. Adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models were used with the lowest fifth of calorie adjusted intakes as reference categories.Main outcome measure Mortality from any cause during follow-up.Results An increased risk of all cause mortality (hazard ratio for highest versus lowest fifth 1.26, 95% confidence interval 1.23 to 1.29) and death due to nine different causes associated with red meat intake was observed. Both processed and unprocessed red meat intakes were associated with all cause and cause specific mortality. Heme iron and processed meat nitrate/nitrite were independently associated with increased risk of all cause and cause specific mortality. Mediation models estimated that the increased mortality associated with processed red meat was influenced by nitrate intake (37.0-72.0%) and to a lesser degree by heme iron (20.9-24.1%). When the total meat intake was constant, the highest fifth of white meat intake was associated with a 25% reduction in risk of all cause mortality compared with the lowest intake level. Almost all causes of death showed an inverse association with white meat intake.Conclusions The results show increased risks of all cause mortality and death due to nine different causes associated with both processed and unprocessed red meat, accounted for, in part, by heme iron and nitrate/nitrite from processed meat. They also show reduced risks associated with substituting white meat, particularly unprocessed white meat.

Concepts: Death, Iron, Demography, Meat, Pork, Red meat, White meat, Poultry


Prevalence of ASD seems to have increase in recent decades. There have been many attempts to find the responsible agent at various levels, from genetics to environmental factors. In this paper we draw attention to the possibility that one of the hidden agents spurring the rise in autism prevalence is to be identified within the industrial system of food production, particularly meat production with special emphasis on poultry meat. The paper presents some exploratory analyses demonstrating the correlation between particular aspects of meat consumption and autism prevalence. This initial exploration has lead to the hypothesis that industrial meat production - especially of poultry meat - may involve significant risk factors requiring thorough investigation. The main suspects seem to be hormonal and other growth-promoting agents.

Concepts: Industrial Revolution, English-language films, Meat, Livestock, Game, Industry, White meat, Poultry


Diets high in red meat and processed meats are established colorectal cancer (CRC) risk factors. However, it is still not well understood what explains this association. We conducted comprehensive analyses of CRC risk and red meat and poultry intakes, taking into account cooking methods, level of doneness, estimated intakes of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that accumulate during meat cooking, tumor location, and tumor mismatch repair proficiency (MMR) status. We analyzed food frequency and portion size data including a meat cooking module for 3364 CRC cases, 1806 unaffected siblings, 136 unaffected spouses, and 1620 unaffected population-based controls, recruited into the CRC Family Registry. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for nutrient density variables were estimated using generalized estimating equations. We found no evidence of an association between total nonprocessed red meat or total processed meat and CRC risk. Our main finding was a positive association with CRC for pan-fried beefsteak (Ptrend  < 0.001), which was stronger among MMR deficient cases (heterogeneity P = 0.059). Other worth noting associations, of borderline statistical significance after multiple testing correction, were a positive association between diets high in oven-broiled short ribs or spareribs and CRC risk (Ptrend  = 0.002), which was also stronger among MMR-deficient cases, and an inverse association with grilled hamburgers (Ptrend  = 0.002). Our results support the role of specific meat types and cooking practices as possible sources of human carcinogens relevant for CRC risk.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Beef, Meat, Livestock, Pork, Red meat, White meat


Prostate cancer remains a significant public health concern among men in the U.S. and worldwide. Epidemiologic studies have generally produced inconclusive results for dietary risk factors for prostate cancer, including consumption of red and processed meats. We aimed to update a previous meta-analysis of prospective cohorts of red and processed meats and prostate cancer with the inclusion of new and updated cohort studies, as well as evaluate meat cooking methods, heme iron, and heterocyclic amine (HCA) intake exposure data. A comprehensive literature search was performed and 26 publications from 19 different cohort studies were included. Random effects models were used to calculate summary relative risk estimates (SRREs) for high vs. low exposure categories. Additionally, meta-regression analyses and stratified intake analyses were conducted to evaluate dose-response relationships. The SRREs for total prostate cancer and total red meat consumption, fresh red meat consumption, and processed meat consumption were 1.02 (95 % CI: 0.92-1.12), 1.06 (95 % CI: 0.97-1.16), and 1.05 (95 % CI: 1.01-1.10), respectively. Analyses were also conducted for the outcomes of non-advanced, advanced, and fatal prostate cancer when sufficient data were available, but these analyses did not produce significant results. No significant SRREs were observed for any of the meat cooking methods, HCA, or heme iron analyses. Dose-response analyses did not reveal significant patterns of associations between red or processed meat and prostate cancer. In conclusion, the results from our analyses do not support an association between red meat or processed consumption and prostate cancer, although we observed a weak positive summary estimate for processed meats.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Meat, Pork, Red meat, White meat


Few studies have assessed the association between consumption of red meat (RM) and processed red meats (PRM) and the incidence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and results have been inconsistent. We investigated associations between total consumption of meat and its subtypes and incident MetS and estimated the effect of substituting RM or PRM for alternative protein-rich foods.

Concepts: Nutrition, Egg, The Association, Meat, Saturated fat, Pork, Red meat, White meat


There is suggestive but limited evidence for a relationship between meat intake and breast cancer (BC) risk. Few studies included Hispanic women. We investigated the association between meats and fish intake and BC risk among Hispanic and NHW women.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, White American, Meat, White people, White meat