A REALLY Bad Month to be a Butcher (Updated): New Data, Less Meat

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I have said it before and I will say it again. Whenever data of high quality emerges that meat and animal products halt and reverse the #1 killer of men and women, cardiovascular disease (CVD), I will be obligated to present it to my patients as an option. Almost 60 years after the first clue to whole food plant-based diets as a therapy for CVD emerged, it remains an all plant approach. Even bigger than the risk of developing CVD is the issue of mortality. Does eating meat increased the risk of premature death? That is something most consumers would like to know.

In the last month, a number of studies from all corners of the world have been published that provide further clues to the support for the goal of replacing animal foods with plant foods as a plan to reduce CVD and overall mortality risk. Indeed, it was a REALLY bad month to be a butcher.

1) Adventist Health Study-2

During a mean follow-up of 12 years, there were 7961 total deaths, of which 2598 were CVD deaths and 1873 were cancer deaths. Unprocessed red meat was associated with risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 1.18) and CVD mortality (HR: 1.26). Processed meat alone was not significantly associated with risk of mortality. The combined intake of red and processed meat was associated with all-cause mortality (HR: 1.23) and CVD mortality (HR: 1.34). These findings suggest moderately higher risks of all-cause and CVD mortality associated with red and processed meat in a low meat intake population. The figure above displays the results in graph form.

2) Harvard Meta-Analysis

3) Global Burden of Disease Study

4) Kuopio Finnish Heart Study

During the average follow-up of 22 years, 1,225 deaths due to disease occurred. Higher intakes of total protein and animal protein had borderline statistically significant associations with increased mortality risk: multivariable-adjusted HR in the highest compared with the lowest quartile for total protein intake = 1.17) and for animal protein intake = 1.13. Higher animal-to-plant protein ratio (extreme-quartile HR = 1.23) and higher meat intake (extreme-quartile HR = 1.23) were associated with increased mortality. When evaluated based on disease history at baseline, the association of total protein with mortality appeared more evident among those with a history of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer (n = 1094) compared with those without disease history (n = 1547). Higher ratio of animal to plant protein in diet and higher meat intake were associated with increased mortality risk. Higher total protein intake appeared to be associated with mortality mainly among those with a predisposing disease.

5) U. K. BioBank: Diet and Rectal Cancer

6) Pan-European EPIC Cohort and Heart Disease

Overall, these 6 studies, drawing data from nearly 200 countries, support choices of eating exclusively or predominantly whole food, plant options such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and reducing or eliminating meat entrees.

Written by

Professor of Cardiology, Summa cum Laude grad, Kahn Center for Longevity and GreenSpace Cafe. www.drjoelkahn.com @drjkahn. Author The Plant Based Solution NEW

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