Researchers from the Oxford University in the United Kingdom (UK) said regular meat-eaters are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions than those who shun or ration animal products. The study found a meatlover who eats 70 grams of meat — processed or unprocessed — more than a peer is at 15 per cent higher risk of heart disease, 30 per cent more likely to get diabetes and almost a third (31 per cent) more likely to develop pneumonia in the future. Pneumonia, which is caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, is an infection in one or both lungs resulting in inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs.
But the risks of a diet packed with meat also apply to poultry, with a 30 gram daily increase in dietary fowl resulting in a 14 per cent greater risk of diabetes. A quarter-pounder burger contains about 113 grams of beef and one chicken wing contains about 30 grams worth of meat. Data from the almost half a million Britons who participated in the 10-year study also revealed that people who eat meat three or more times a week are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, be obese and eat an inadequate amount of fruit and vegetables.
However, the study authors said most of the health-related issues are reduced when accounting for body mass index (BMI), suggesting that some of the correlation betweenmeatand health problems is caused by overweight or obesity. However, comparison of data from 475,000 people published in the journal ‘BMC Medicine’ does show a significant link between eating meat and health complaints.
Lead author, Dr Keren Papier, from the University of Oxford, said: ‘We have long known that unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption is likely to be carcinogenic and this research is the first to assess the risk of 25 non-cancerous health conditions in relation to meat intake in one study. “Additional research is needed to evaluate whether the differences in risk we observed in relation to meat intake reflect causal relationships, and if so the extent to which these diseases could be prevented by decreasing meat consumption.