Red meat increases health risks

March 15, 2012, 3:22 PM GMT+0

64% will not change eating habits after study reveals dangers of red meat consumption

A recent report has been published that claims eating red meat increases health risks. When considering their personal dietary habits, the majority of Britons say this report will not change the amount of red meat they currently eat, our poll shows.

  • 64% say they will probably "keep on eating the same amount of red meat as they do now" while 14% claim they "will probably cut down the amount of red meat they eat a little"
  • 14% state that they currently do not eat any red meat
  • 5% say they will probably cut down a lot on red meat

Men and women seem to differ in how much red meat they eat regularly, with more men making no change to their diet than women, and three times more women say they don’t eat red meat at all.

  • 70% of men will keep eating the same amount of red meat along with 58% of women
  • There are three times the amount of women than men who are currently not eating red meat, with 21% of women next to only 7% of men

There is somewhat of a divide between younger and older age groups when it comes to being influenced by this report, with more young people leaving their diet unaltered.

  • 74% of 18-24 year olds say they will keep eating the same amount of red meat next to 60% of people over 60
  • Meanwhile, of 18-24 year olds, 1 in 20 say they will cut down on their red meat "a little", next to twice as many from each older age group (14% of both 25-39 and 40-59 year olds; 18% of those 60 years and over)

According to a new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School, a diet high in red meat can significantly shorten life expectancy, with increased risk of cancer and heart problems.

The Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition, has said issued new guidelines stating adults should consume no more than 70g (2.5oz), or about 500g (17oz) a week. This is the equivalent of three slices of ham, one lamb chop or two slices of roast beef a day.

Some have argued that cutting down on red meat will cause iron deficiencies, but the British Heart Foundation said red meat could still be eaten as part of a balanced diet. Dietician Victoria Taylor has recommended changes such as going for the leaner cuts and using healthier cooking methods such as grilling.

To those eating too much, the report recommends substituting red meat with fish, chicken or nuts.

See the full results and details here