Let’s make a better choice for your health.
For many of us, summertime means juicy burgers sizzling on the grill, thick steaks done to just-pink inside and ribs slathered with a sauce recipe passed down for generations. Unfortunately, eating all that red meat actually means you’ll be enjoying fewer summers in your lifetime. Dr. Gaston is here to explain why.
For decades now, studies have linked red meat intake and higher risk of premature death, especially due to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. A study inaugurated in 1980 that followed over 120,000 Americans published results in 2012 - and those results were scary for red meat and processed meat lovers.
Nearly 29% of participants died over the course of the decades-long study, with over 15,000 men and women succumbing to cancer or cardiovascular disease. Data analysis showed that these were the participants who consumed the highest amounts of red meat and processed meat. Researchers found that adding just one serving of red meat a day increased the risk of death by 13%. Just one more serving of processed meats raised the risk by 20%.
Red meat and processed meat consumption is directly and strongly implicated in the development of many cancers, including colorectal, pancreatic and prostate. Meat consumption is also a factor in diverticulitis, diabetes and high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke - all of which dramatically reduce both your life expectancy and the quality of time you have left.
Is pork really the “other white meat”? No. Red meat is any meat that comes from a mammal- beef, pork, lamb, veal, goat, mutton are all red meat. Processed meat has been cured, salted, smoked, dried or canned - bacon, sausage, hot dogs, salami, corned beef and ham are some examples of processed meats. Many people have bacon or sausage for breakfast, a hamburger for lunch and a steak or chop for dinner - resulting in three servings of red and/or processed meat each day.
So what healthy proteins should you enjoy? Look into a Mediterranean style of diet, which emphasizes fish, poultry and eggs along with beans, nuts and seeds. These menus are also rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese and yogurt, with an occasional bite of red meat. When you do eat red meat, seek out grass-fed sources, with no artificial chemicals, antibiotics, hormones or other drugs; grass-fed is nutritionally different than factory farmed meat.
Eliminating or severely restricting red and processed meat in your family’s menu will improve overall health and result in longer, more vibrant life. Can’t give it up all at once? Substituting fish, poultry, beans, peas or cheese for red meat in just one meal a day can reduce your risk of death by up to 19% - and start you on your way to further healthy meal adjustments.
If you have questions about the dangers of eating red meat, just call 773-238-1126 or click "make an appointment". Dr. Gaston and Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants are always ready to help!